By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
The City of Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Park Commissioners voted during a virtual meeting on Thursday, January 21, to approve the naming of the forthcoming Potrero Canyon Park in honor of late community member and activist George Wolfberg.
Wolfberg, who died in February 2020, was chair of the Potrero Canyon Community Advisory Committee, which was formed to help the city manage the design of the project.
When complete, the 46-acre passive park—which has been decades in the making and developed by the city—will feature picnic areas and provide a pathway from Palisades Recreation Center down to Pacific Coast Highway. There will be riparian landscaping, scenic ocean views, further access to nearby hiking trails, as well as fences and gates to ensure adherence to park hours.
During the Thursday morning meeting, several commissioners voiced support of the park naming, citing that Wolfberg’s contributions to the park and community were “exceptional.”
“This is truly an example of making lemonade out of lemons,” Commissioner Joe Halper, a Palisadian and associate of Wolfberg’s, explained of the forthcoming park. “There was a landslide in this area where a number of houses fell into the canyon and the city took over these properties. The funds from the sale of the residential properties on this rim of the canyon are being used to fund this project.”
Members of the Pacific Palisades Community Council board unanimously voted at a February 2020 meeting to support Councilmember Mike Bonin’s motion in City Council to name the park “George Wolfberg Park at Potrero Canyon.”
City Council adopted the motion during an August 2020 meeting before it headed to the Recreation and Park commissioners.
Bonin attended the Recreation and Park meeting to voice his support, stating “we would not be where we are today on a whole range of things that benefit Pacific Palisades, but specifically this park, if it had not been for the hard work and the dedication and the passion of George Wolfberg.”
Wolfberg, a long-time community activist and PPCC chair emeritus, was born April 22, 1938, and spent his entire life in Los Angeles. His career was largely dedicated to the city of LA, eventually retiring as the chief administrative analyst in the City Administrative Office—the highest non-appointed position.
Wolfberg served on the board of PPCC for 16 years, as chair from 2002-04 and returning to the position in 2018 and 2019. He also served six consecutive terms as the at-large representative.
Wolfberg’s sons, Michael and David, and daughter, Anya McCann, each spoke at the meeting, touching on the time and dedication their father contributed to this project.
“For Potrero Park, he envisioned connectivity for people being able to stroll and ride bicycles through this beautiful new park with gorgeous views, continuously from the Palisades to our public beaches, down bike paths he advocated for, all the way to Torrance,” McCann shared “Our family is grateful for this extremely fitting honor for my father, which is so aligned with so many of his values.”
The grading of the park was recently completed, and the park is slated to soon move into the landscaping portion. Next steps for the park, Halper explained at the meeting, will include constructing a bridge connecting Potrero Canyon to the Will Rogers State Beach parking lot and tying in Temescal Canyon Park—which will take additional funds and work, but will make it a regional park.
“Getting this park built and open and accessible to all Angelenos was a mission of George’s since the 1980s,” Bonin shared in a statement following the meeting. “I am determined to see this project finally completed, and I thank the commission for moving forward on this project and naming the park for one of its greatest champions.”
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