Parks & Recreation

Monterey Park prides itself in offering residents attractive, well-maintained public parks at locations central to the residential neighborhoods. Virtually every home in the community lies within one half mile of a city park. The three largest parks Barnes Park, Garvey Ranch Park, and Elder Park provide many varied activity centers and areas for active and passive recreation. City residents also have opportunities to use public school facilities for recreation, as the city maintains joint-use agreements for use of elementary school grounds. In addition, the municipally owned Monterey Park Golf Course adjacent to the Long Beach freeway provides welcome open space in the urban environment and the opportunity for people of all ages to learn to golf.

Population Increases
As described in the Land Use Element, infill residential development and new homes within areas designated for mixed use will, over time, result in an incremental increase in the city's population. In the year 2000, the city had approximately 1.77 park acres per 1,000 residents (not including joint use of school grounds or the golf course). From a baseline population of 61,000 residents in the year 2000, the population has the potential to grow to 72,000. New residents will intensify use of existing parks and create increased demands on recreation programs. However, given that Monterey Park contains very few vacant parcels, expansion of current parks or the creation of new parks will be a challenge. The city's primary goal is to optimize use of established parks. As a secondary goal, the city will look for smaller open space and public areas to be provided in appropriate locations serving new development.

Optimizing Use of Established Parks 
Figure R-1 identifies long-established city parks and other public open space areas. Public open space includes the Monterey Park Golf Course and the pedestrian / bicycle trail along the power line easement connecting Edison Trails Park to La Loma Park and Potrero Grande Drive. As described above, each park serves a residential neighborhood within a one half mile radius. Barnes Park, Garvey Ranch Park, and Elder Park, because they provide diverse facilities within large park areas, notably pools and community centers and the Barnes Park amphitheater, also function as community parks.

As the community demographic changes over time, use of parks and park facilities can be expected to change. For example, a proportional increase in the number of young families might intensify use of park playgrounds and athletic fields.

Goal One
Optimize use of established public parks, and provide park facilities that meet the needs of the city's population.
  • Policy 1.1 - On a regular basis, assess usage of park facilities, and identify physical changes needed to accommodate anticipated use patterns.
  • Policy 1.2 - Preserve existing park space.
  • Policy 1.3 - Continue to work cooperatively with the school districts to maintain and expand playground use through joint-use agreements.
  • Policy 1.4 - Work with East Los Angeles Community College to make the College's recreation facilities available to Monterey Park residents.
Opportunities for Additional Public Open Space & Recreation Facilities 
New residential development activity will occur largely within the northeast neighborhoods of Monterey Park, along the mixed-use Garvey Corridor and on lots supporting densities substantially below maximum permitted densities. Thus, efforts to provide additional public open space and recreation facilities need to be focused to serve this new development. Given that established parks are surrounded by developed properties and vacant lots are scarce, public recreation facilities will take the form of small "pocket" parks, public plazas, and multiuse community buildings.

The city will seek sites suitable for small parks (less than one half acre in size). Such parks could be built in conjunction with private development projects along Garvey Avenue or on existing lots within residential neighborhoods. Also, when community recreation needs assessments identify the demand for a teen center, satellite facilities to serve senior residents, or an additional multipurpose community building, such a facility could occupy either a new or existing building.

Commercial development projects present another opportunity for providing public open space. Landscaped plazas and similar gathering places can be used by people of all ages. Within areas designated for mixed used development, the city can require new developments to incorporate plazas and/or partner with private developers to provide public spaces.

Goal Two 
Create additional passive recreation opportunities in the city to further enhance the quality of life in all areas of the community.
  • Policy 2.1 - Encourage future commercial development to incorporate public squares, plazas, or similar spaces.
  • Policy 2.2 - Incorporate pocket parks, parkways, and similar recreation spaces into residential neighborhoods.
  • Policy 2.3 - Incorporate into the development review process a means for new development to contribute to existing recreational facilities and/or to address maintenance and staffing needs.
  • Policy 2.4 - Provide for the expansion of the city library and other community services as needed to benefit all Monterey Park residents.