Clean & Safe: Enhancements coming to Reed Park

March 12, 2024 8:54 AM
by David White

Improvements are coming to Reed Park as part of the city’s Clean & Safe and Economic Growth & Cultural Vitality priorities.

Reed Park, officially Christine Emerson Reed Park, is a neighborhood park on 7th Street, bordered by Wilshire Boulevard, California Avenue and Lincoln Boulevard. It is home to the Miles Memorial Playhouse, tennis courts and the city’s tennis office, basketball courts, a playground and the CREST afterschool program offices. The cleanliness and safety of the park has been an area of concern for neighbors, and the city continues to take action to enhance the park experience for all park patrons.

To update and improve this public space, the city has embarked on a multi-departmental, collaborative effort to make capital improvements, conduct coordinated homeless outreach and add security measures, as well as work to reopen and activate the Miles Memorial Playhouse, which was shuttered in 2020 amid the pandemic.

As part of the 2023-24 Capital Improvement Program, or CIP, the City Council dedicated $200,000 in one-time funding for Reed Park improvements. An inter-departmental team comprised of staff from the Police, Housing and Human Services, and Recreation and Arts departments and the offices of Architecture, Public Landscape, Sustainability and the Environment, and Facilities Maintenance generated and reviewed more than 35 ideas about how to use these funds to activate Reed Park and reached consensus around the following:

  1. Activating the playhouse: The city will use allocated CIP funds to create an outdoor reception area for the Miles Memorial Playhouse, including a decorative fence. Because the playhouse is a city landmark, these improvements will go through a design review and permitting process, and ultimately go before the Landmarks Commission for approval.
  2. Building improvements: Staff will begin facility maintenance and repair work to revive the playhouse property. Ultimately, the Recreation and Arts Department plans to activate the playhouse with programming and community events to bring new life to the facility.
  3. Community garden: Staff will develop cost estimates and evaluate the feasibility of adding a community garden to the outdoor reception area to enhance the community experience.

Additionally, to address community concerns, staff are working to add signage and gates around the tennis courts for additional security.

Physical repairs to the Miles Memorial Playhouse
In spring of this year, Public Works will begin renovating the Playhouse, including systems maintenance such as HVAC repair, addressing potential water intrusion and replacing doors. This will require installing temporary construction fencing around the Playhouse, and community notices will be posted as appropriate.

The facilities maintenance sets the stage for reopening the Playhouse, which will help further activate Reed Park.    

A cultural affairs supervisor position was restored in the Recreation and Arts Department during the midyear budget, approved by the City Council last month. The Recreation and Arts Department is now recruiting for this position, which will oversee supervision of the Playhouse, including exploration of options for a public or private partnership, in collaboration with local arts organizations and the Santa Monica businesses community.

Enhanced safety & security
Based on the success of a security video monitoring pilot at the Santa Monica Main Library, which contributed to a decline in loitering on library property during non-operational hours, conversations are under way to consider extending the pilot to the Miles Memorial Playhouse and Reed Park Plaza for live real-time monitoring. The community will be notified if this initiative is planned to move forward.

In addition, the Police Department has increased its presence at Reed Park, holding daily morning briefings there and conducting periodic checks in the early evening hours, in addition to the early morning and daytime checks that were already being conducted.

Additional outreach efforts
City and service provider outreach and engagement teams have an ongoing presence in Reed Park on weekdays. This includes Public Safety Officers, the Police Department’s Homeless Liaison Program team members, DTSM Park Ambassadors and local homeless service provider outreach teams, all of whom work to connect unhoused individuals to services and housing resources.

Authored By

David White
City Manager


Arts, Culture & Fun, City Parks, Historic Preservation, The Arts