The iconic Chess Park on the Santa Monica Boardwalk may soon be shut down. The massive chess board sits empty, the big chess pieces locked inside a cage. The tabletop chessboards taken over with graffiti.
The half acre park is located at Ocean Front Walk directly behind Santa Monica’s Original Muscle Beach, includes 60 chess boards and a large chess board with large chess pieces set on the ground. The tables are frequently occupied by homeless people and their belongings, leading to low rates of chess play.
Problems have been brewing at the park for years, the area has become a den for drug sales, violent incidents, mental health crises and sexual activities.
Photos and videos show homeless and mentally ill people yelling, using drugs, exposing themselves, and threatening people.
“I’m gonna get a hammer and come back and hit both of you in the head!”....a man can be heard saying in a recent video.
The famous park next to the Santa Monica Pier, has been destroyed.
“There have been stabbings, with serious injuries, active prostitution,” Commission Vice Chair Maryanne LaGuardia. “I think the best first step is to close it.”
The City’s parks and recreation commission has voted to recommend Chess Park be closed and to remove all benches and tables and temporarily close the park.