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Sand Dune to open August 2
After one year of complete closure, the Sand Dune is scheduled to open during the first week of August 2010. Unfortunately, after 33 years of being one of the most successful destinations in all of Manhattan Beach and the entire South Bay to motivate people to exercise, severe restrictions will now be imposed.
Even though CORE advocated for a common sense, incremental two-stage solution, the Manhattan Beach City Council decided to implement a highly restrictive and costly reservations system (see Reservation System below).
However, we will remain vigiliant to continue to advocate for improved conditions as this trial period is implemented.
13 and over
All patrons over 13 years old must have a reservation to use the dune. M.B.M.C.12.48.100.
Reservation times are for one hour only, per day, per patron
The following reservation hours are only available during daylight hours:
o Weekdays - 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 3:00 PM, 4:30 PM and 6:00 PM
o Saturdays - 8:00 AM, 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM
Children 12 and under
The dune and dune family play area are open seven (7) days a week from 8:00 AM to 7:00 PM for all children 12 and under only; no reservation required
All children five (5) and under require full time adult supervision in the family play area. M.B.M.C.12.48.054
The use of any substance or device other than standard cardboard for sliding down the dune by children only is prohibited. M.B.M.C. 12.48.053
April 13th City Council Meeting
Manhattan Beach City Council demonstrated it had in fact listened to both sides of the issue and allowed for limited adult usage for exercise while addressing the over-usage issues that were causing parking and noise problems during peak-period usage. However, while the council did in fact allow exercise, council refused to enourage it as has been the tradition for at least three decades as well as had been advocated by CORE during the past few months.
Manhattan Beach resident supporters to Free the Dune easily outnumbered those who wanted to close the Dune and proudly wore "Free The Dune" t-shirts and "Yes to exercise" signs in a show of solidarity. In addition, over 630 Manhattan Beach residents signed the petition to support a reasonable compromise, but allow a 40-year tradition of adult and family access to this public park continue for future generations. Importantly, hundreds of these residents also live in the park's vicinity as illustrated here.
However, before the meeting started, Mayor Ward unilaterly declared to limit public comment to only sixty seconds and total public input to only sixty minutes - a very unusual and controversial decision that certainly limited both sides, but damagining the majority who were encouraged by City Council to bring as many supporters as possible. Of the speakers that were fortunate enough to be chosen in a lottery to speak, it was almost impossible to have actual constructive input from the public as barely one single thought can be conveyed in a sixty-second soundbite.
In the end, City Council reached a "compromise" that will dramatically reduce usage of the Dune by over 70% with a highly restrictive reservation system that limits usage to only 20 people at any one time. Even though the reservation system would significantly reduce usage, the primary objective, additional costs were recommended that could cost an individual over $300 or a family of four over $1,200. This is an extreme decision based upon three very basic facts the city revealed that night:
- The Sand Dune is structurally safe (see staff report) and even if the Dune was used in the manner it had been during the past years, it would remain safe.
- The Sand Dune neighborhood can easily accomendate 50 with no significant impact to the neighbor as stated by Richard Thompson, City Manager
- Public parks are part of the commonwealth of the city and around the country were never designed to be profit centers. Even with this in mind, at $113,000 each year in variable costs, this still represents less than 3% of the $5 million parks budget
Check back soon as more information will follow as specificiations are revealed.
March 21st "Free the Dune" Rally and March to the Dune
About 150 residents came out to meet each other is support for opening the Dune and to celebrate their affinity for this 40-year tradition. It was a fun family affair and even one lucky winner won a signed beach volleyball by Kerri Walsh, who is also an avid fan of the Sand Dune. Later during the day, about 50 of those in attendance marched to the Dune in a peaceful, but symbolic act to show the City of Manahttan Beach there is an engaged majority that should be heard! See Highlights
January 2010 Update
On January 19th, the City Council voted in favor of re-opening the Dune with limitations. Those limitations will soon be debated and defined. During this meeting, the stories related to the City Council by the “open the Dune” supporters were mostly examples from how adults enjoy recreation on the dune for their own health and fitness, to walking up and down the dune because it is the only place strengthen and rehabilitate from injuries from back and knee pain, to simply just enjoying the view at the top!. Others stories shared how enjoying the Dune with the family and wanting to ensure this access for future generations. We thought the message from all us was simple and clear – address over-usage, but find a way to reopen the dune for adults to enjoy recreational exercise as well as for children to play.
Unfortunately, that message wasn't completely received by our City Council and now we need your help once again. If our last efforts were any indication, we can succeed once more. Our fight has just begun as highly restrictive solutions discussed by the City Council could still effectively end the dune's use for all. Some of these unnecessary and extreme measures were:
- Banning adults from using the dune at all
- Carving the dune up by installing wooden paths or an artificial trail
- Installing massive pylons to subdivide the dune
- Adding unsightly vertical and horizontal fences
- Leaving the dune closed for years in the name of "restoration”.
After reading the hundreds of emails from all of you, carving up the dune and banning adults is not what we would consider, “reopening” the Dune. The Sand Dune represents only ten percent of the nearly half-mile wide Dune that is already covered in vegetation. Do not be mislead by the “close the dune” crowd with their misleading statements.