Librarian Wants Roof Park Closed After 6 p.m.

Times Staff Writer

Because the park atop the city's main library appears to have become a partying place for those who are "up to no good," the library director wants the area closed after 6 p.m.

The park has been the site of late-night parties and disturbances at least five times since vandalism on May 9 caused conditions that endangered thousands of books, according to Library Director Cordelia Howard.

"It appears that the roof park above the library invites congregation of those who want to conduct wild parties and destroy property in the process," Howard wrote in a report to the City Council.

Sprinkler System Broken

At Howard's request, the council Tuesday asked the city manager to prepare an emergency ordinance restricting access to the park between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

In May, the entire library was closed for one week--and its lower level closed an additional week and a half--after vandals broke the sprinkling system for Lincoln Park, which is atop the library's roof. The water, which gushed onto the rooftop park and into the library, did not directly damage books, but officials had to take special measures to prevent high humidity from mildewing the materials.

Vandals struck again on May 29, breaking the sprinkler heads on two water lines and causing minor flooding, Howard said.

The rooftop park is not widely used, Howard said, because "It doesn't occur to people to walk up two flights to go to a park." Instead of the general public using it, those who are "up to no good" wait until nighttime hours to use the area for their own--often destructive--purposes, she said.

Law Enforcement Tool

An ordinance in place restricting access to the park at night would give police an enforcement tool, Howard said.

The incidents have renewed discussions about using the area for something other than a park. As in past years, City Council members recently briefly discussed allowing a restaurant on the site, which faces City Hall. Officials in the past also have discussed building a day care center, an office building and a fast-food eatery there.

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