Natural History Center to Be Built at Madrona Marsh

The Madrona Marsh wildlife preserve, a combination of wetlands and sand dunes in Torrance, is the home to warblers, ducks, egrets and blue herons. But soon there will be an addition.

The 43-acre marsh will be getting a natural history center after the City Council this week unanimously approved spending $1.8 million for a building that will house an exhibit hall, laboratory, natural history shop, meeting room and library. The structure will not exceed 8,000 square feet.

Three years ago, the city appointed an 11-member committee of environmental advocates, community leaders and city officials to help oversee development of a center. Construction should begin late next year with the building scheduled to be completed in 1999, said Jack Jones, recreation services administrator with the Torrance Parks and Recreation Department.

“We are pleased it was approved, but we are disappointed it is not any larger than this,” said Shirley Turner, a member of the Friends of Madrona Marsh who fought 25 years ago to have the marsh preserved. She said the organization would like to see a history center twice the size of the facility that was approved.


The project will be funded by Proposition A, the Safe Neighborhood Parks Act, which raises money through property tax assessment districts.

The city acquired the marsh in 1986 after years of legal wrangling. It was given to the city by developers in exchange for approval of the Park del Amo condominium project nearby. The marsh is bordered by Sepulveda Boulevard on the south, Plaza del Amo on the north, Madrona Avenue on the west and Maple Avenue on the east.