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Bunnies Invade Civic Center Park

The first rabbit to be installed on the new civic center grounds. — Photo by Charles Weinberg

The first rabbit to be installed on the new civic center grounds. — Photo by Charles Weinberg

By Amy Senk | Corona del Mar Today

Bunnies are invading the new Civic Center park complex — including two 8-foot rabbits and more than a dozen of their babies.

“It’s for one of the children’s elements of the park,” said City Manager Dave Kiff in an email. “A parent rabbit and kid rabbits.”

One of the large rabbits will eventually be installed on the east side of the library, said Steve Badum, assistant city manager, in an email. The other large rabbit has been installed at an intersection of trails just north of the Civic Center entry road, he said.

Another 15 smaller rabbits, about 3 to 4 feet tall, will be placed in a ring in a meadow along Avocado Avenue south of San Miguel Drive, he said.

“The small rabbits are designed so ‘kids’ can sit on them,” he said.

Peter Walker Partners, the landscape architect added the rabbit sculptures as whimsical pieces that can be used as play elements in the park, Badum said.

Rabbits were chosen because they are so common in the area, he added.

The park will be finished around the same time as the City Hall building in late February or early March, said Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman.

Currently, City Council meetings are taking place in the new Civic Center building, but all other city business is being conducted in the old City Hall.

After the park opens, however, access to the rabbits will be limited, perhaps until Easter 2014.

“The planting establishment period will last up to one year so the access will be initially limited to the trails,” Badum said.

The Civic Center park will be the city’s fifth-largest park and will cover 16 acres, including a dog park, a civic lawn for outdoor events, a restored wetlands, 1.23 miles of walking and viewing trails and restrooms, according to a city webpage.

Kiff said the park will not include “traditional tot lots.”

There are no other plans to add more animal sculptures, but there are many locations that have been identified by PWP where sculpture could be added.

The city’s Art Commission is currently investigating opportunities to add sculpture in the future, Badum said.

“The landscape architect’s vision was to intersperse fun elements within the park,” he said in an email, referring to the rabbit sculptures. “Adults need to withhold judgment until it’s all done and the 4-year-olds weigh in.”

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  1. Tanya says:

    They should have at least painted the rabbits a natural tan/brown color. Those look ridiculous and gaudy, so big and solid white!

    • Mark says:

      There is a breed of rabbit that is a natural white: New Zealand Whites, to be specific. But they do have some coloration (like pink inside the ears), so your point is still valid. Cheers.

  2. Kkycdm says:

    Who pays for the upkeep when the stark white rabbits get graffiti’d?

  3. Patti says:

    Glad the city spent money to cater to high brow 4 year old. Sitting on rabbits won’t hold any kid’s attention for long.

    A small playground with swings and climbing tower would have been a better choice for children.

    The rabbits are not representative of native rabbits. I am surprised they aren’t wearing waist coats and carrying a pocket watch!

  4. Mary says:

    Creepy and ugly and diminishes site.

  5. Sue Goldberger says:

    I just visited the park and was really puzzled by the bunnies. So white with rainbow eyes. What were you thinking. Is it a rabbit Stonehenge? If it was meant to climb on as other people were doing why isn’t there a path to approach so the plants don’t get trampled on? I would love to know the background and artist and landscape designer.

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