The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

LA City Planning to determine future of River Park


The River Park project is in the final stages of approval after a Los Angeles City Council hearing July 12 and a Los Angeles City Planning Commission (CPC) approval hearing Aug. 24.


During the City Council hearing in July, residents of Los Angeles and Council District Four, which includes the school, spoke about their support or opposition to the project. More than 200 people spoke at the public hearing before public comment was closed, leaving over 80 people in the queue according to NBC Los Angeles. Junior Prefect Victor Suh ’25 spoke at the hearing and said that being able to use his voice in a public setting about River Park connected him to the community more deeply. 


“The opportunity for me served a dual purpose,” Suh said. “It gave the City Council an opportunity to hear our perspective on the project, but it also showed that students were able to contribute to a project we believed in and drove the community aspect of what makes this whole thing a community-wide project.” 


Since the school first obtained the property in 2017, it has continued to operate golf and tennis on the land and will do so until construction begins. President Rick Commons said  the gesture of goodwill to the community is often overlooked.


“We could have shut it down and said that we now own the property,” Commons said. “We kept it going despite the fact that it doesn’t bring us profit for the benefit of the community until such time as we can create a new recreational space for the benefit of the community as well as the school.”


Following the City Council hearing, a CPC meeting was scheduled during August for final approval of the project. Prior to the CPC’s vote over approval, public comment will be opened and supporters and opponents of the project will be able to speak.


Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said she cares about what River Park will offer the broader community. 


“We haven’t always been great about the ‘purpose beyond ourselves’ part of our mission,” Slattery said. “The fact is that as much as people on the outside don’t believe us when we say that we’re going to have it be open to people and invite people from the community, it’s just true. To me, the idea that we might have a summer camp for elementary school kids at a low cost or no cost feels like our obligation.”


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