Workers' Drinking Upsets Residents : Burbank Proposes to Upgrade Small Parks

Times Staff Writer

Three Burbank neighborhood parks, including one that residents say has become a center of drug and alcohol use, have been targeted by city officials for more than $1 million in improvements.

The parks, Vickroy, Valley and Pacific, have deteriorated during the last several years and need to be upgraded, said Richard Inga, director of the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

Emphasis on Big Parks

"We've concentrated most of our capital over the last several years to our large community parks," said Inga. "We don't want to ignore our small, neighborhood parks any longer."

The proposal for the funds will be submitted to the finance department next month, and must be approved by the Burbank City Council in the budget for the 1985-86 fiscal year.

Officials started planning equipment and playground improvements for the three parks last year. But Inga said he had been unaware of how concerned residents who live near Vickroy Park had become about drug and alcohol use at the diamond-shaped, 1.5-acre park at Monterey Avenue just east of Buena Vista Avenue.

Beer at Lunch Hour

"People are concerned about the large number of major industrial employees who sit around the park on their lunch hour drinking beer," he said. "The residents who live around there told us that activity discourages them from using the park and also makes them keep their children away."

Inga said residents complained about the lack of lighting and claimed that employees from the nearby Lockheed plant used drugs at the park.

Although city officials attribute no major crimes to park users, the complaints have prompted police to patrol the park and a neighborhood watch group has been established, Inga said.

New Game Court

An independent study commissioned by the department recommended that just under $200,000 be allocated to upgrade the park, including the construction of a new restroom, a multi-surface game court and a "tot lot."

More than $500,000 in improvements are proposed for the five-acre Pacific Park at Pacific Avenue and Screenland Drive. The study, by landscape architects Van Dell & Associates from Irvine, proposed that group-picnic areas, horseshoe pits and tennis courts be removed and replaced by a multi-use building and restrooms.

The 4.4-acre Valley Park, in west Burbank at Clybourn Street and Oxnard Avenue, is scheduled for about $555,000 in improvements, including the construction of new restrooms, tennis and basketball courts, bleachers, additional parking and street lighting.

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