A proposed nature center for Deane Dana Friendship Park is already making enemies among neighbors who say it will destroy plant life, frighten away animals and disrupt the park’s calm.
The $4-million nature center, to be completed by August, 1996, is planned for a barren plot of land near the end of Friendship Park Drive. A two-lane, winding asphalt road will lead to the center.
The mostly undeveloped park, owned by the county, includes 100 acres in Rancho Palos Verdes and 23 acres in San Pedro.
The park was recently renamed for County Supervisor Deane Dana, who lives in nearby Palos Verdes Estates and represents the area.
Dana’s spokesman, Dennis Morefield, said the nature center will provide visitors with some of the best views in the county and provide access to a section of park now only accessible by foot.
A group critical of the park plans, Friends of Friendship Park, says the nature center and a parking lot for about 50 cars should be built about a quarter mile from the proposed location and next to an existing parking lot to preserve as much open space as possible.
“This is the natural, the open,” said Jane Jones, Friends chair and Rancho Palos Verdes resident, as she walked through the park, “and that’s what we want to keep.”
Foes of the plan also say a nature center farther away from existing development will provide a target for vandals, but Morefield said a more isolated center might deter vandals.
The Friends have voiced their concerns to Dana and to the Rancho Palos Verdes City Council, but Morefield said no plans are under way to relocate the center.