Three days after a group of residents filed a lawsuit to block a basketball court from being built in Runyon Canyon Park, Los Angeles City Councilman David Ryu, 4th District, announced on April 21 that construction on the court is temporarily halted.
The decision to stop construction allows time for more public vetting of the basketball court and allows the Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks to reconsider the project. No timeline for further review was announced.
“This project was initiated before I became the council member of the 4th District and it is clear that community concern regarding this project needs more robust consideration prior to any further action,” Ryu said in a statement.
The Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks approved the project last fall. The basketball court is planned to be built at the site of a dilapidated tennis court in the park, and will be funded by a $260,000 donation from Neima Khaila, co-owner of the Pink Dolphin apparel store on Fairfax Avenue.
The project was conceived in partnership with the Friends of Runyon Canyon, an organization that supports the park. Construction started on the basketball court a couple of weeks ago, and plans called for it to continue while the park is closed for renovations through the end of July.
Bob Mansell, a member of the group Citizens Preserving Runyon Canyon and one of three plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit, said while he is “extremely” pleased construction has stopped until further review is completed, the lawsuit will move forward.
“We don’t think our job is done yet,” Mansell said. “We are seeking all appropriate relief, and for the project to be [permanently] stopped. David Ryu has said it’s been halted, but it’s been halted so Rec and Parks can have an additional hearing. Until the project is completely stopped, we are going to keep fighting.”
Mansell said he is uncertain about when the lawsuit will be heard in Los Angeles Superior Court. He objects to the basketball court having a Pink Dolphin logo in the center, and added that it will set a bad precedent.
“We are pushing on all fronts, politically and legally, to stop the commercialization of Runyon Canyon,” Mansell added.
The temporary moratorium on the basketball court construction also pleased members of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, which was not consulted about the project and has since voted to oppose the court.
“It was very encouraging to see the councilman respond to the community,” said Anastasia Mann, president of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. “I don’t want to single out any one potential donor, but the biggest issue is the process occurred without it coming before the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council. We do not support any kind of commercialization of the park because it changes the status of the park from a hiking area and off-leash dog park to a recreation center.”
Estevan Montemayor, communications director for Ryu, said there is no comment on the pending litigation. The dates for further review of the basketball court will likely be announced soon, he added.
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