With threatened with closure in 2012 due to budget cuts, many local residents, business owners and politicians have stepped up to try and keep it open. One of the park's most vocal defenders is state Sen. Fran Pavley.
to brainstorm ways to keep the historic landmark open to the public, and her at the
In a conversation with Encino Patch, Pavley said her interest in the park has been lifelong.
"I grew up in nearby Sherman Oaks before there was a 101 Freeway," Pavley said, "so I've known about Los Encinos my entire life."
As a former public school history teacher, Pavley said, she has always treasured the park as a historical resource and "a hidden jewel."
Pavley said that she became involved with the movement to save the park when she heard from homeowners, local business owners and the Los Encinos Docents. She also received bundles of letters from schoolchildren.
"But there was no one spearheading how to get all these groups to work together," Pavley said.
Pavley said that her staff contacted the offices of Rep. Brad Sherman, Rep. Howard Berman, and Councilman Paul Koretz, as well as the to build a coalition of forces to help the park. The first meeting of the various groups last Wednesday was, she said, a step in the right direction to help build an ongoing dialogue.
One of Pavley's key areas of focus is trying to ensure that, if local fundraising efforts succeed in keeping the park open for the next three years, the state will eventually resume financial responsibility for the park.
"That’s one of my responsiblities in working with state officials," said Pavley, "if we indeed step up to the plate—and there’s other areas of the state that are doing that—those of us who work to do that, we’re the first ones that the state will pick up again."
Many people in the San Fernando Valley are unaware that the park exists, she said. Part of the job of saving the park, therefore, is to raise its profile, she said.
"We're trying to encourage people to stop by—it's a resource worth protecting," she said.