New Recreation Area Outside Santa Monica City Hall Renamed Tongva Park

Friday, 15 Feb 2013, 9:30:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

Palisades Garden Walk was renamed Tongva Park on Tuesday. Council members renamed Town Square as Ken Genser Square last October.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
Palisades Garden Walk was renamed Tongva Park on Tuesday. Council members renamed Town Square as Ken Genser Square last October.

“Palisades Garden Walk” will be an answer to a trivia

question: what was the park wedged in between City Hall and Santa Monica Beach

named during its development and construction? Indeed, Palisades Garden Walk is

now a footnote in the history books as the newest public open space and

recreation area in Santa Monica will be named Tongva Park.

In a 4-1 vote, Council members voted Tuesday to honor a

group of Santa Monica’s earliest inhabitants, the Tongva tribe. Naming the new

recreation area Tongva Park will help visitors learn more about Santa Monica’s

history, Council members hope.

Other names considered: Arroyo Park or Santa Monica

Arroyo Park; Parque del Sol; and, Santa Monica Commons.

City staff presented the names to 550 members of the

community. According to staff, the public outreaches “did not reveal a single

clear preference for a name.” With a lack of consensus, City staff recommended

the council retain the Palisades Garden Walk name.

In all, there were 166 name suggestions.

Some interesting suggestions: Attention Park; Big Wow

Park; Central Park West; Endless Summer Garden; Fresh Air Park; Park for All;

Planetarium of Eden; Santa Monica Garden of Eden Center; Scrub Jay Park; Spaceship

Adventure Fun Park; The Mecca; The Shire; and, Wonderful Waterfalls Park.

However, during council discussion, Council member Gleam

Davis said choosing the name Tongva Park would make the recreation area more

than just a place to visit, but also an opportunity to learn more about Santa

Monica’s history.

The sole nay vote was Council member Bob Holbrook; Mayor

Pam O’Connor and Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day were both absent during the

discussion.

A six-acre park abutted by Ocean Avenue on one side and

Main Street on the other, Tongva Park is currently under construction.

According to City Hall, Tongva Park would be complete as early as Summer 2013.

When the previous council initially approved the project,

it carried a price tag of $46.1 million. However, with the loss of

redevelopment, Council members had contemplated how to lower the cost.

The Tongva people lived in the Santa Monica area hundreds

of years ago, well before the first non-indigenous inhabitants occupied the

area about 250 years ago. According to the City staff report, about 1,500

people currently identify themselves as Tongva. The report also stated they

were a sea faring people and several Southern California communities carry a Tongva

name, including Azusa, Cahuenga Pass, Pacoima, Rancho Cucamonga, Topanga, and

Tujunga.

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