The dunes were once a hidden treasure in Manhattan Beach, but over the last 10 years city leaders say that the number of park visitors has skyrocketed from 1,000 to 9,000 a month. And the cost of maintenance has soared with its popularity.
"We used to replenish the sand here. We would take it from the bottom and truck it up to the top once and year and then it went up to twice a year," said Director of Parks and Recreation Richard Gill. "Now we are having to do at least eight times a year. We just replenished the sand 21 days ago and that is the quickest we've ever had to replenish it again. It costs us almost $5,000 every time we do it."
It is that much needed maintenance prompting Richard Gill to close Sand Dune Park for a minimum of two weeks. But other lingering issues could lead to a permanent closure.
"The neighbors are just so fed up with all of this and I think that is now on the table," said Gill.
Those issues are: trash, noise and parking.
"I understand if you don't take care of it and people trash it up. People have to live here too. I feel sad about that. Hopefully we'll take better care of it when they open it back up," said local resident Shyra Mason.
"If the city closes this they have given up. They haven't found enough solutions. There are so many solutions. There are some stubborn people who are not looking into it," said local resident Laurie Dillman. "They want to put grass up here. People love this place and it is a draw. Most people look for things to people to their city. We have something. Let's make some money."
"I just hope we can strike a balance. It would be jumping the gun if they close it," said local resident Jerod Cuza.
Come fall the city plans to hold several town hall meetings to control the overflow of visitors. If they can't come up with a solution Sand Dune Park could be closed for good.
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