July 21, 2017
Pacific Palisades, California
American Legion Post 283 Approves $400,000 Matching Grant to Renovate and Revitalize the Upper Picnic Area of the Park
American Legion Post 283 announced today that it has approved a $400,000 matching grant for the renovation and revitalization of the Upper Picnic Area at the Palisades Recreation Center.
To qualify for the matching grant, the community must raise an additional $200,000.
“The extraordinary generosity of the men and women of our American Legion Post 283 will be felt by Palisadians of every age for decades to come,” said Jimmy Dunne, a principal volunteer who has been spearheading the project. “Our park is such a jewel for all of us lucky enough to be Palisadians — this renovation is going to be spectacular!”
“What wonderful news!” said Mike Skinner, Chair of the Park Advisory Board and of Your Palisades Park Improvement Corporation, the grant recipient. “This will enable us to completely transform the unsightly and much-neglected Upper Picnic Area.”
“We have reached this point through the generosity of private donors and the volunteer efforts of Jimmy Dunne, Bill McGregor and Bob Harter.”
The project features five separate alcoves, each of which will be furnished with picnic tables, benches and barbecues. The design creates, in effect, five distinct “living rooms in the park.”
The picnic and garden area will be named ‘Veterans’ Gardens.’ A beautiful flag and monument at its entrance will celebrate our veterans and replace the torn and tattered flag now at the park. Each of the five alcoves will feature commemoratives honoring the five branches of our armed forces.
“This will be a wonderful way for our community to acknowledge our veterans and honor their service,” noted Bob Harter, a principal volunteer and Vice Chair of the Park Advisory Board.
Bill McGregor, a principal volunteer overseeing design and construction, is a prominent developer and architect known for his highly complex and iconic projects including Wilshire Palisades Building in Santa Monica, the Howard Hughes Center, One Santa Fe, the Los Angeles World Trade Center, the I.M. Pei Sony Building in Beverly Hills, and numerous award-winning custom homes.
“The Department of Recreation and Parks, the Palisades Park Advisory Board, Mike Bonin’s office, and Palisadians of every age have been supportive of this community project that enhances our park in so many ways,” said Bill. “I’m honored to play a role in bringing it to fruition.”
The initiative includes three bocce courts, an activity that has had extraordinary success engaging all ages not only at our beach clubs, but also at public parks throughout the country.
“Leagues for our fastest growing population, our seniors, will sprout immediately,” said Jimmy Dunne. “Combining the bocce courts with an expanded picnic area is going to be a home run for families, and grandparents, and birthday parties – creating a real gathering place for our community.”
The project will not encroach upon the grassy area closest to Alma Real where school groups and others play.
“The Veterans’ Gardens will become a place where the story of our veterans will be shared with the wider community — and friends and families will enjoy the opportunity to gather together in a beautiful outdoor setting,” said Jere Romano, Commander of American Legion Post 283.
“In a day challenged by families and neighbors spending more and more time looking at electronics, this community-centric initiative creates a sanctuary for families to step away from the hurry of life and spend time together – right in our own backyard. It creates an outdoor meeting-place and home for our seniors,” said Jere. “It’s the essence of acclaiming Americanism and preserving our core values.”
The final design and implementation of this project will be subject to the approval of the Board of Commissioners of the Department of Recreation and Parks and the membership of Post 283.
A Special Meeting of the Park Advisory Board will be held in the near future to approve the rendering and authorize the submission of final construction drawings to the Staff of the Department.
Then next steps are creating construction drawings – and reaching out to the community for the $200,000.
“We’re hoping that we raise a great deal more than the $200,000,” said Jimmy. “The more the community raises, the more we’ll have to expand our plans and vision to improve our incredible town park – and to create an endowment for the future.”
Once all monies are raised, ground breaking will be in January, 2018 – and ‘ribbon cutting’ is scheduled for April of ‘18.
“Can’t you just picture the picnic area full of happy families from the Palisades?,” said Jimmy. “Grandparents and grandkids creating memories for a lifetime on the bocce courts… Couples hanging out in one of the ‘living rooms in the park…’ I can’t wait for opening day.”
Your Palisades Park Improvement Corporation is a non-profit corporation authorized to accept tax-deductible contributions under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and dedicated to the improvement of the Palisades Recreation Center and the Potrero Canyon Nature Preserve.
Tax deductible contributions (made payable to YourPark Corporation) can be mailed to YourPark Corporation, 732 Patterson Place, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272.
For donations or information, please contact: Jimmy Dunne
Phone: (310) 459.7600. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org