New Sports Facilities Will Put More Muscle in Muscle Beach

Times Staff Writer

An expanded version of Muscle Beach, volleyball courts and a new children's playground are part of plan to improve a recreation park in Venice.

The $1.8-million expansion of Muscle Beach and the Venice Recreation Area on Ocean Front Walk includes plans to install bleachers around the Pit, where outdoor weightlifters gather to work out.

The plan also calls for three sand volleyball courts, three new paddle-tennis courts and new playground equipment.

Run-Down Facilities

Al Carmichael, a planner in the city Department of Recreation and Parks, said the existing facilities are run down. adding that "the area is not utilized to its fullest."

Joel Breitbart, the department's assistant general manager for planning and development, said the improvements can be completed before the summer if the city gets a permit from the California Coastal Commission, which is scheduled to vote on the plan next week.

Breitbart saidthe park will remain open while the new equipment is being installed.

"We're going to take (the old equipment) out piece by piece," he said.

"There will always be paddle- tennis courts available. We don't want to shut it all down at any one time."

Third Basketball Court

Breitbart said the paddle-tennis and handball courts will be refurbished. A third basketball court will be added and the existing courts will be improved.

The playground equipment will be replaced by safer and more colorful equipment, Breitbart said.

Last May, the park's weightlifting area was named Muscle Beach after the Santa Monica muscle-building park, which was closed in 1959.

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