“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
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
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
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