The 1920s Sunken City, near San Pedro's Point Fermin has become quite popular with urban explorers despite being technically illegal to enter. Would its appeal change if it were officially open to the public? Councilmember Joe Buscaino, who reps San Pedro, wants Los Angeles parks officials to look into possibly allowing people to access the site legally, "rather than forcing them to trespass," says the Daily News. The six-acre "sunken" site marks the spot where a bungalow community gradually began to slip into the sea in 1929; tracks for the Red Cars and concrete from roads and foundations are still visible, fractured and covered in colorful graffiti and paint. (The seaward slide was so slow that "all but two of the homes" were moved before the community fell into the water.)
Buscaino's not alone in wanting to open the land to the public—residents of the area launched a campaign last year to reopen the site. The Sunken City is surrounded by a fence that was erected in 1987 in an effort to stem suicides and accidental injuries from people who came to explore and party at the ruins. Buscaino's proposal would keep that fence there, but add a gate to let people in during the day; it would lock automatically at sunset. (Citizen supporters of opening the site point out that the fence isn't really that effective at keeping people out anyway.)
The main obstacle to opening up the property is liability for the city. Supporters have had an independent law firm look into whether the city could be sued or not in the event of injury at the Sunken City; they found that "due to various statutes protecting the city from liability and promoting public recreational access, the city's potential liability will be very low." Residents who are in favor of public access to the spot say that the land that once slowly fell into the ocean is now stable and hasn't moved in years.
· Sunken City in San Pedro would be open to the public during the day under new proposal [DN]