Burton W. Chace Park in Marina del Rey

Oct 07, 2010 by Lisa Newton

If you’ve taken the Marina del Rey Bike Ride, you might have stumbled upon Burton W. Chace Park. Or, on the other hand, if you’re looking for a respite from the big city, this is one spot that should be on your perennial radar.

Opened in 1972, Burton W. Chace Park, located at 13650 Mindanao Way, in Marina del Rey, was named in honor of the “Father of the Marina” and long-time Los Angeles County Supervisor, Burton W. Chace.

Moving to California from Nebraska at the age of 23, Chace, along with his father, started Chace Lumber Company in Long Beach. As time went on, Chace, now the sole owner of the lumber company, became involved in Los Angeles’ local politics.

Over the years, Chace held many positions in the government:

  • Member Long Beach Board of Education 1933-1941
  • Member Long Beach City Council 1945-1953
  • Elected Mayor of Long Beach for 3 Terms 1947-1953
  • Appointed Supervisor, 4th District, County of Los Angeles by Earl Warren, Governor of California 1953
  • Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor for Fourth District from 1953 until his death in 1972

Spanning 4 decades, Chace did all he could do to make a difference for the citizens he represented:

During his years with the County, Chace’s philosophy on spending was "pay-as-you-go" whenever possible. His experience in the bond business helped him in determining the best financing arrangements on capital projects. Chace believed in the decentralization of public services. He continually pushed for the building of governmental offices and courthouses containing county branch offices at key locations throughout the sprawling Fourth District, which covered the coastal cities from the Orange County line at Long Beach to the Ventura County line. Examples of these projects included the Long Beach-County Courthouse and Civic Center, Torrance-County Courthouse and Civic Center, Malibu Civic Center, Santa Monica Court Building and the Compton County Civic Center.

In 1969 Chace spearheaded the effort to separate the operation of the county’s beaches from the Department of Parks and Recreation and create a new Department of Beaches and Harbors. The results of this action proved a boon to the Southland in the form of 8.5 miles of "new" beaches. This resulted in increasing Los Angeles County beach areas by 20 per cent, complete with lifeguard service, beach maintenance, additional restroom facilities, beautification through the removal of all telephone and power poles and overhead lines, and beach patrols.

Spanning 10 acres, Burton W. Chace Park is the perfect location for a birthday party, a family picnic, or just sitting on the beach watching the boats go by.

Located on the waterside of the Park is a statue entitled, The Helmsman.

The plaque on the statue says:

For many years, this statue stood in front of and was a trademark for the world renowned Helms Bakery on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles.

On October 6th,1971, it was generously donated to the Marina by the Helms family in 1975. Through the generosity of the Marina’s Yacht Clubs, it was provided a new home.

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