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Runyon Canyon basketball court construction halted following backlash

Following a lawsuit and outrage by neighbors, construction on a corporate-branded basketball court at Runyon Canyon will halt, Councilman David Ryu announced Thursday.

Runyon Canyon is closed for four months so the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can replace pipes, but residents say they never knew that a basketball court was also set to be built during that time.

Attorney Rob Glushon, who is representing a coalition of neighbors, previously told KTLA that there was “no notice to the community, no notice to the neighborhood council, and a basketball court is actually against the city’s own master plan. This is a wilderness park, hiking trail and an off-leash dog park.”

In a letter to the city’s Department of Recreation and Parks, Ryu, who represents the area, thanked the department for halting construction of the court and agreeing to recommend that parks commissioners reconsider its approval with public input.

“When I took office, I pledged to restore trust in local government, and one principle of that must include a public process that is not under the radar,” Ryu wrote. “Improvements and changes to park use must be determined with community input and advice from the many groups and individuals that love and use the park.”

The court project, which the LA Times reported was approved without an environmental impact report, was initiated before Ryu took office.

In November, Recreation and Parks commissioners approved a deal with Neima Khaila, CEO of the Pink + Dolphin apparel company. A Runyon regular, Khaila offered to donate about $260,000 to build the court, which was to be emblazoned with a Pink + Dolphin logo, according to the Times. It's a project Recreation and Parks couldn't afford to fund on its own. 

“In an age of limited budgets and resources, [donor and nonprofit] groups are a real benefit to our City, and we shouldn’t disparage these volunteer-led organizations working to better their communities,” Ryu wrote. “However, the public deserves to have a say in determining the future of the park.”