THE VIEW FROM BLAIR HILLS
The Blair Hills Association October, 2002 Edited by Bobbi Gold
BLAIR HILLS COMMUNITY MEETING REPORT 10/23/02
ECIS SEWER PROJECT
Baron Miya, Project Manager for the L.A. East Central Intercept Sewer which will be going under Blair Hills, presented maps and information about the status of this project. The tunneling machine, which recently arrived from Canada, has been lowered into the portal at the southeast corner of La Cienega and Jefferson Boulevards (the site with the high sound walls) and will start its work about November 1, moving south underneath La Cienega and then turning west beneath Wrightcrest Drive.
The construction activity in the rightmost lane of La Cienega northbound which is tying up traffic worse than usual is a ventilation hole about 10 feet in diameter for the sewer tunnel. The tunneling machine is expected to reach the site of the ventilation hole about mid-January. It will continue moving south until reaching Wrightcrest Drive; tunneling under Wrightcrest Drive and Shedd Terrace is expected to last about six weeks. The machine will then continue southwest through the oil fields, hopefully not encountering any unknown abandoned oil wells.
The target for completion of this project is March, 2004, when LA City expects to first release sewage into the new pipe. The ventilation hole will remain open until then (which means that the rightmost lane of La Cienega Blvd will remain closed until then).
Residents of Blair Hills, and especially those living above the path of the tunnel, are of course concerned about possible damage to their homes and property. Part of the sewer project involves the surveying by photographs of the interior and exterior of 55 homes before tunneling begins, so that any damage can be verified.
Mr. Miya elaborates: "There are 9 extensometers (tunnel monitoring instruments) concentrated in the Blair Hills residential area, and over 100 survey points along Wrightcrest Drive and Shedd Terrace. The street is set up in a grid system of extensometers and survey points. The extensometers are spaced on the average every 75 meters, and the survey points every 12.5 meters. The surface instrumentation information is integrated with the continuous real-time information generated from the tunnel boring machine that provides information about the tunneling performance. All of this information is compiled and summarized into daily reports used by the contractor and the construction managers to ensure there is no ground movement. The monitoring program is very extensive with an average of 10,000 data points generated every day. In addition to the electronic instrumentation monitoring, inspectors visually measure the volume of muck removed to ensure no surplus excavation."
A 24-hour toll-free hotline has been established to answer questions or address concerns (such as odors or damage). This number is 1-866-711-1115.
BLAIR HILLS PARK RENOVATION
Shelly Chagnon, of Culver City Parks & Recreation Dept, introduced consultant John Wolitarsky in a presentation about the upcoming renovation of Blair Hills Park. The City recently received a $50,000 grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board for renovations using recycled materials. Only a portion of the young children's play area will be renovated. Renovations will provide greater accessibility for the handicapped (whether children or adults) and safer equipment.
A portion of the sand will be replaced with a durable rubberized surface, allowing access for the disabled. The swings and slide will be replaced with more modern equipment. The merry-go-round, which undeniably is very popular, is nevertheless considered unsafe and will be removed and not replaced. City staff will determine the placement of the climbing bars, cement turtle and big cheese, which will remain and be resurfaced.
The total cost of the project including the grant funds and staff time will be $108,000. Mr. Wolitarsky has worked on the renovation of several other CC parks. Construction is targeted for the spring. Ms. Chagnon also asked residents what other matters in the park need attention; rehabilitated restrooms scored high in this poll.
SENIOR CENTER / TEEN CENTER CONVERSION
Shelly Chagnon also noted that the City has been awarded a $262,500 Murray-Hayden grant to convert the old Senior Center on Overland Avenue (adjacent to Veteran's Memorial Building) to a bigger and better teen center. The grant is funded by Proposition 12, the Parks Bond issue we passed in 2000. The Senior Center will move to the new building on the north side of Culver Blvd within a couple of months when construction is completed.
BALLONA CREEK PUBLIC WORKSHOP # 2:
Thursday, November 14, 6:30-9:00 PM at the Senior Center, 4153 Overland Avenue (next to Vet's).
The City of Culver City held the first of three community planning workshops on Thursday evening, September 26, 2002, in the Veteran's Memorial Building. Close to 85 people came together to help the City plan the renewal of Ballona Creek and its bike path into a more positive community and environmental resource. Among the many issues considered were environment, connections, parks and recreation, circulation, restoration and enhancement, public safety, arts and culture, education and interpretation, and maintenance.
The City’s consultant, Keith Gurnee of RRM Design Group of San Luis Obispo, led the interactive workshop. RRM has excellent recent experience in projects related to waterways and environmental concerns. In the workshop’s first half, participants listed numerous ideas for improvements, which were written on charts posted around the room. After a break, participants then expressed their opinions (favorable or unfavorable) of the posted ideas through the use of colored adhesive dots. This approach allowed everyone to see quickly which ideas garnered the most favor or disfavor. In looking at different possible demonstration projects, it's safe to say that the greatest support was for improving the stretch of creek and bike path between Overland Avenue and Sepulveda Blvd.
The second workshop will be held on Thursday, November 14, and will build on the ideas and opinions expressed in the first workshop The consultant will present possible demonstration projects at 5 locations under three different levels of effort: (1) "Clean and beautify"; (2) "Selective Enhancement"; and (3) "Transformation." Everyone interested in improving Ballona Creek to benefit the environment and community is encouraged to participate.
Those with internet access can get more information and see the consultant’s PowerPoint presentation and Summary Report for Workshop #1 on Culver City's web site at: http://www.CulverCity.org/bctfss
This comprehensive $170,000 Culver City project is funded by the State Coastal Conservancy, and includes mapping and development of specific guidelines, potential improvement projects, and funding sources for future implementation and maintenance. While this effort focuses on the four-mile length of the creek within the City of Culver City (from Washington Blvd to the Sepulveda Channel, west of the 405 Freeway), the work will be coordinated with the City and County of Los Angeles, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and others. Project completion is expected in late summer, 2003.
Ballona Creek Renaissance (BCR), a Culver City-based nonprofit organization, is helping facilitate and coordinate the involvement of interested stakeholders, including agencies, groups, local residents, bike path users, schools and students. This implementation-geared project was preceded by the Coastal Conservancy’s more conceptual Ballona Creek Master Plan Study, which covered the entire 9-mile open portion of the creek. For that study’s plan and summary, see BCR’s web site: http://www.BallonaCreek.org
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