4235 Monterey Road
In the future, visitors to Debs Park will enjoy an expanded range of recreational and educational experiences. As illustrated in Figure 4, the Framework Plan divides the Park into four distinct land use areas based on the type of existing facilities, topography, vegetation, and wildlife habitat. In the northern portion of the park, there will be the Urban Wilderness Area, where the tranquillity of nature pre-dominates. Here, visitors will be able to spend time hiking, walking, or viewing birds and other wildlife. Visitors will also be invited to explore the demonstration gardens and exhibits of the Los Angeles Nature Center, and to participate in nature education programs. A different type of experience will be found in the family picnic and gathering area located in the central portion of the park. Designed for both large events and small gatherings, visitors will use the green lawns and shade trees for picnics, barbecuing, relaxing, or playing. The southern portion of the park will be designated the ball field and community use area. Currently, this area is used for organized sports; in the future, it could also host several community programs and/or facilities.
Table 1 specifies a number of recommendations for improving the park experience and enhancing natural habitat. This matrix lists both desirable and undesirable land use activities for the Park as a whole, and for each Park Area. Further, Table 1 also identifies the type of infrastructure improvements required to achieve the Park's land use goals. This list of activities and improvements will be updated periodically as new activities are approved or others are discontinued in the Park. [Please note that Table 1 has three sections.] Figure 5 illustrates the location and type of proposed park land use improvements. Upon approval of the Framework Plan, this map will help guide development.
Below is a description of the unique aspects of each land use park area. This includes the type of plants and animals that exist in the park. The Park contains a wide diversity of plant species and wildlife habitats, as shown in Figure 6, as well as numerous ornamental and weedy plant species.
AREA 1 - BALLFIELD AND COMMUNITY USE AREA
Similar annual grassland vegetation occurs over larger, hilly areas in the southwest corner, which are also disced around the edges for fire protection. The southwest area also supports scattered exotic, nonnative trees such as Eucalyptus, palms, and pines, and several others. Occasional individuals of the native southern California black walnut can also be found, along with other common associates of walnut woodlands such as blue elderberry and toyon, especially on the northerlyfacing slopes. Substantial infestations of the noxious castor bean occur on the southfacing slopes and extending northward into the woodlands of walnuts and exotic trees.
Coastal sage scrub exists in a small area of a cut slope with one of the few occurrences in the park of California aster and purple needlegrass. West of the parking lot and Boundary road are heavily mulched wood debris and recently planted native trees including western sycamore and coast live oak. Finally, a relatively steep slope area east of the ball fields and west of a dirt-surface parking lot supports a mixture of exotic trees, native black walnuts, and coast live oak trees, in addition to some castor bean infestations.
Animal life in Area 1 are those most tolerant of close proximity to residences and daytime activities. Birds are most conspicuous wildlife, with resident species such as house sparrow, rock dove, mourning dove, Brewer's blackbird, California towhee, Anna's hummingbird, northern mockingbird, black phoebe, American crow, common raven, and European starling perhaps being the most frequently observed. Nuttall's woodpecker and flicker are also occasionally observed or heard. These resident birds are augmented in winter and during migration by dark-eyed junco, white-crowned sparrow, and yellowrumped warbler. Birds of prey including red-tailed hawk, red-shouldered hawk, Cooper's hawk, barn owl, and great horned owl can also be expected to look for prey in this area.
Mammals occurring in this area, and throughout of the park, include domestic cat, Virginia opossum, fox squirrel, striped skunk, raccoon, and house mouse. Coyotes undoubtedly utilize this area of the park, as elsewhere, feeding on Botta's pocket gopher, desert cottontail, California ground squirrel, and perhaps other small rodent species. Only one species of lizard is known to occur in the park, namely, western fence lizard, and it is expected among the woody vegetation. The possibility of other lizards such as western skink, side-blotched lizard, and snakes such as common gopher snake and California kingsnake should not be discounted. Amphibians such as garden slender salamander, pacific treefrog, or western [California] toad may still persist throughout the park.
During the planning process, this area was identified as the most strategic location for engaging the El Sereno community in establishing an ARTScorpsLA (AcLA) community facility. AcLA will utilize an innovative programming approach to transform this fallow section into a lush, green, large-scale sculptural public place with and for the community. The inclusion of this facility with a sculptural play environment, classrooms, plant nursery, community garden, and composting site will facilitate it becoming a central focus of community life promoting education, job training/employment, child care and community advocacy. Three acres has been allotted for this proposed project, which has been under consideration with the City for four years. AcLA will complete "as built drawings" of Reptilia Island's Renaissance Skill Center for final approval to the City and to the Debs Park Oversight Committee in the near future.Area I Recommendations: