Hollywood Park City Council still seeking storage space solution, finalizes pool rules

Storage space at Voigt Park's community center and new rules for using the park's swimming pool both are the focus of two issues that the Hollywood Park City Council has been addressing in recent meetings. (Courtesy Google Streets)
Storage space at Voigt Park's community center and new rules for using the park's swimming pool both are the focus of two issues that the Hollywood Park City Council has been addressing in recent meetings. (Courtesy Google Streets)

Storage space at Voigt Park's community center and new rules for using the park's swimming pool both are the focus of two issues that the Hollywood Park City Council has been addressing in recent meetings. (Courtesy Google Streets)

Hollywood Park officials are hopeful they will meet in December to approve a final agreement with two local civic groups for leasing storage space in the Voigt Park complex.

The city is also finalizing rules that local leaders hope will deter unruly behavior around the town’s swimming pool at Voigt Park.

City Council expects to have a special meeting at 6 p.m. Dec. 7. There, they will be briefed on efforts to arrive at an official pact through which the city may continue to formally let the Hollywood Park Community Association and the Hollywood Park Hammerheads youth swim team lease storage space at Voigt Center, which sits next to the city pool.

Local officials have spent at least one year trying to develop an agreement with the two organizations. The city-led initiative that has become a source of heated debate for many community members over the months.

When council met in October, they focused on one draft lease drawn up by City Attorney Ryan Henry. But at the Nov. 16 meeting, council members faced multiple agenda items concerning the lease agreement efforts.



Mayor Oscar Villarreal, who has received criticism from some residents for his handling of the issue, reiterated at the November meeting that the city only wants to ensure taxpayer protection by having both groups be insured, signing a formal lease and agreeing to a cost for leasing the storage space on city property.

Until now, neither group has had a lease in place or paid for the current storage space. Villarreal said he offered both groups an opportunity to have a storage shed on a lot near the community center and pool.

“My obligation is take care of the town from liabilities,” he added.

But neither group has signed off on any potential agreement. According to Council Member Debbie Trueman, based on conversations with HPCA officials, the association could not afford to be insured for the Voigt Center storage space that has been recently offered to them.

“I think that’s what made the shed desirable to [HPCA] because they don’t have to have insurance on that,” Trueman said.

Answering a question by Council Member Glenna Pearce, Henry said it is legal for an independent group to go uninsured while permanently leasing a space on city property.

However, Henry said an uninsured renter may pose a risk to the city’s insurance rates for the public property it maintains.

HPCA has retained the services of attorney Steve Treu, a Hollywood Park resident and a former City Council member. He told the council he is working for the association on a pro bono basis.

Treu said he could work with Henry and help to bring representatives of the HPCA and the swim team to negotiate toward a final agreement. He also said a settlement is overdue given some of the tension that local leaders and residents have felt around the issue.

“We’ll come up with the framework where everyone’s on the same page,” Treu said, asking for more time. “I think it’s kind of gotten out of control.”

Council Member Delaine Hall said she was ready to vote on a lease Nov. 16, adding she feels that both organizations have been given options and enough time to make a choice.

“We’re here to run the city and make decisions,” she said.

Pearce said she wanted to make sure Treu, Henry and both organizations would discuss all options before they reach a formal pact to forward to the council.

Treu assured the entire council that all pertinent information would be addressed during negotiations and that it was vital for the all parties to end the debate.

“This organization is so important to the city,” Treu said of HPCA. “You can’t lose focus of that. We’re in this together. We need to work together. We don’t need to argue anymore.”

Also at the Nov. 16 meeting, the council by consent agenda approved amending the city’s code of ordinances to strengthen rules for users of the Voigt Park pool.

Pool visitors will be required to wear wristbands at all times. Additionally, smoking, vaping and consuming alcohol immediately around the pool area will be prohibited.

City Secretary Patrick Aten confirmed to Community Impact Newspaper that city staff will later recommend to the council authorization to spend money and hire an unarmed security guard who will deal with unruly guests.

“[The guard] will help monitor the pool area and enforce the new rules,” Aten said.

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