Plans for Wild Walnut Park Playground and Dog Park

Ever since the City of Calabasas acquired 10-acre Wild Walnut Park on the corner of Mulholland Highway and Old Topanga Canyon Road, this small patch of oak woodland has been mostly left to nature.

That may soon change. At its August 23 meeting, the Calabasas City Council unanimously agreed to direct staff to undertake a master plan for the park, one that includes a children’s playground and dog park. 

Calabasas held a “Wild Walnut Park Possible Playground Workshop” workshop in 2015, with about 25 in attendance, “including council members and commissioners,” according to the staff report. However, the park plan was placed on hold due to lack of funding. The council indicated that they now hope to fund the project through the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD), using funding from Measure A, the Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches Measure of 2016.

City staff pointed out that similar propositions in 1992 and 1996 allocated funds to Calabasas and were key components in the purchase of the Calabasas Tennis and Swim Center, and building De Anza Park, and the Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center.

Measure A makes funding available to eligible recipients for projects that repair and upgrade parks and recreation facilities. However, it also places priority on regional projects and parks that serve underfunded areas, with an emphasis on areas of highest need. The City of Calabasas will only receive approximately $96,000 per year in non-competitive grants (per capita), and another $23,000 per year in maintenance and servicing, beginning in 2018. 

The city will have to compete with other L.A. County communities for a competitive grant to fund the project.

Former Calabasas mayor Lucy Martin described the ideal project as “small, in the background, blending, with earth-toned equipment. “It’s disappointing to go back to zero,” she said, describing how the city abandoned the earlier plan. “There is no public park [in the neighborhood] that you can actually go to and enjoy. I really hope that we can move forward and get a park there that the community can use.”

While Martin was enthusiastic about a playground, she had reservations over the dog park proposal. “My only concern with a dog park next to playground is that many children have a fear of dogs, and people don’t always pick up after their dogs,” she said.

Dog owner Roza Besser spoke for the neighborhood dog in requesting a dog park. A hardy bow wow to you,” she said. “There’s growing support for a dog park on the east side of Calabasas.”

Wild Walnut Park neighbor Robin Peterson cautioned that the intersection is dangerous and needs mitigation. “I don’t want to see a child lose their life,” she said. “There’s traffic all day long. No play equipment is worth risking a child’s life. We’ve requested a traffic light because there have been so many accidents.”

The City Council unanimously agreed to direct staff to begin work on a master plan. Public outreach, including workshops, is anticipated to be a major part of the park plan process. 

More information on the plan and the park is available on the City of Calabasas website. http://www.cityofcalabasas.com.

Suzanne Guldimann
Suzanne Guldimann

Suzanne Guldimann is an author, artist, and musician who lives in Malibu and loves the Santa Monica Mountains. She has worked as a journalist reporting on local news and issues for more than a decade, and is the author of nine books of music for the harp. Suzanne's newest book, "Life in Malibu", explores local history and nature. She can be reached at suzanne@messengermountainnews.com

2 Comments
  1. We’ve lived in Calabasas for over 50 Hearst. It would be a wonderful addition, to have a park, near the Mulwood area of Calabasas. Providing a Dog Park would be a great addition. There isn’t any park for the people living in Mulwood. Considering all the available vacant land on Mulholland, I would like Calabasas City to purchase a large plot of land, for a true neighborhood park for families
    & kids. This means it would need baroques & benches & hiking trails. I’m proposing that this be a much larger area than the Wild Walnut Park, which is limited in space. There is money available from the State, & I hope the Calabasas City Council considers applying for money, to purchase a large plot of land, perhaps 5-10 acreas, since the Calabasas Lake isn’t a community park. It’s only available to people living in the Calabasas Park area. This excludes residents of Mulwood & residents from other communities in Calabasas. I think we should purchase some land now, even if we don’t have money to develop the area until a later time. Has there been any discussion about purchasing land for a large future park for ALL Alabama’s residents?

    Adele & Martin Casden
    25211 Prado Del isterio
    Calabasas, Ca. 91302
    acasden@securakey.com

  2. Hi Calabasas Planning Committee,
    I’ve been watching your discussions about the dog park on TV. I think it’s a great idea to have a park where Mulwood residents can go with their dogs & families in addition to all of Calabasas residents.
    Regarding the bathroom situation, I believe it would be a bad mistake not to include bathrooms, especially since there will be small kids & families using this park.. If you don’t have a toilet, someone may decide to go in the bushes etc. If it’s affordable, I’d like to see a regular bathroom, hooked up to the city plumbing system. In the long run this would be the best decision. If you’re worried about homeless people using the toilets, you can have a door system that locks the door at the closing time of the park. You can also monitor what’s happening there, using a few security cameras.

    I would also like to suggest that our city looks into purchasing a really large piece of land off the Mulholland corridor. Right now there’s a lot of available land, that can be developed in the future. Our community doesn’t have a truly large public park for everyone’s use. Later this land won’t be available, & with time the price will only go up. Can we get a state grant for a huge park? I’m thinking of 10-20 acres or more. This is something that our city needs to think about. I don’t know what’s involved in getting a state grant, but a really large park would be a wonderful asset that out whole community would enjoy.

    Thank you for all the hard work you do, helping make our community beautiful & safe. We’ve lived here over 50 years, and continue to enjoy this city, thanks to people like you, who volunteer their time & skills, to make this a wonderful place to live.
    Sincerely,
    Adele casden
    acasden@securakey.com
    818-222-6336 home

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