Base basis


    (The following letter was sent to Councilman Walt Keller)

    I am writing to you regarding your recent letter about Bluffs Park in Malibu. I certainly share your concern for needed recreational ballfields and other facilities in Malibu. Please remember that California State Parks has always taken a cooperative approach to these issues in working within the city. Examples are renewal of the contract for operation of the ballfields and support of renovations and improvements.

    At the same time I have been very clear that the ballfields at Bluffs Park are temporary. State Parks purchased this land specifically for coastal viewshed and access and resource preservation. The ballfields are located in the prime viewshed, in an area that State Parks is considering for a joint visitor center with the National Park Service (NPS). Co-locating with the ballfields would not work since the size and topography of the park do not allow additional development outside the present footprint, and the already congested parking and weekend recreational use would conflict with our needs.

    Having said that, our joint plans with NPS are obviously not shelf ready. Until we are prepared to move forward and as long as a good-faith effort to find an alternative site is being made, I see no problem with providing the city with a short-term extension. As I have offered in the past, I am ready and willing to assist you in searching for alternatives in any way I can.

    As you note, I have been instrumental in settling the city’s disagreement with the Coastal Commission over the issues at Point Dume. I have devoted a considerable amount of my time and that of my staff to this issue. I have committed nearly $300,000 to improvements to meet the city’s concerns and have added a full-time staff position to patrol and protect this park and develop a docent program. This has saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, which would have been spent if litigation continued.

    Walt, I am grateful for the invaluable assistance you provided on the Point Dume issue. If we can work together as well on the Bluffs issue, I think we’ll be able to arrive at an early and satisfactory result. In the meantime, “Play Ball!”

    Rusty Areias, director,

    California State Parks