Will Wild Walnut Park finally bloom?

Following delays, Calabasas park slated for improvements

COME VISIT HERE—A monument sign greets visitors to the park at 23050 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. ACORN FILE PHOTO

COME VISIT HERE—A monument sign greets visitors to the park at 23050 Mulholland Highway in Calabasas. ACORN FILE PHOTO

After two years of delays, the Calabasas City Council is moving forward with plans to add a children’s playground and possibly a dog park at Wild Walnut Park.

The city acquired the 10-acre park at Mulholland Highway and Old Topanga Canyon Road in 2001 with the intention of retaining its natural setting. A discussion about additional improvements was held in 2015, but nothing materialized.

Over the years, residents on the east side of Calabasas have asked for more parks with play areas similar to those on the west side of town such as De Anza, Gates Canyon and Grape Arbor. The parks on the east side, where Wild Walnut is, are smaller and some have limited access.

About 150 people who responded to an online survey said they favor a playground at Wild Walnut. The park currently has a short walking trail, a picnic grove, native plants and trees, and 10 parking spaces.

Funding for the park renovations would come from Los Angeles County Measure A, which voters approved last year. The measure provides funding for upgrading parks and protecting open spaces.

The city anticipates receiving $96,000 per year from the parcel tax, along with $23,000 for maintenance and servicing of facilities.

With Measure A, the city would have park funding in place for the next 22 years.

“The main challenge for Calabasas in the coming years will be expanding its physical facilities to meet the recreation needs of residents,” Jeff Rubin, director of community services for Calabasas, said in a report.

At a meeting last month, council members directed the parks commission to explore ideas and determine what should be added to Wild Walnut Park. The parking lot would also be expanded to accommodate more cars.

“We’ll try to move this forward as expeditiously as government can possibly move it forward,” Councilmember Fred Gaines said at the meeting.

In addition to more sports fields and playgrounds, residents on the east side have asked for a community garden and a dog park.

Safety concerns regarding the proximity of the proposed Wild Walnut playground to the dog park and to a busy intersection also surfaced.

The commission will work with residents to create a master plan that will determine exactly which facilities should be added.

In the meantime, the city is not ready to tell the community something will definitely be built because Measure A and other monies have not officially been allocated to the project, City Manager Tony Coroalles said.