- Second District
The Park to Playa project, which will eventually create a network of trails that will seamlessly connect Kenneth Hahn Park to the bike trails at Playa del Rey, continues to move forward.
On Tuesday, May 28th a regional board that oversees open space within the Baldwin Hills and Ballona Creek area will be asked to approve funding to enhance existing trails at Kenneth Hahn Regional Park. The Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority is expected to approve $1.4 million to make needed connections between the trails to allow for a continuous link from La Cienega Boulevard to the five points intersection at Overhill Drive, La Brea Avenue and Stocker Street.
In order to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act, the board will also likely approve an environmental report that requires that the habitat be restored along the trail during the construction as well as a plan that will reduce emissions, noise and to ensure the protection of nesting birds.The Park to Playa project will connect approximately 13 miles from the Baldwin Hills along Ballona Creek to the Ballona Wetlands and the beach bicycle path. The western portion of the Park to Playa Trail consists of the Ballona Creek Bike Path in Culver City and the Marvin Braude Bike Path in Playa del Rey, which are complete and are not part of the current project.
For more info – http://smmc.ca.gov/BHRCA.asp
This month, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning will begin the first periodic review of the Baldwin Hills Community Standards District, which regulates drilling and operations of the oil field. As a property owner, resident, and/or community stakeholder, your input provides a very important role in this process. The Department of Regional Planning has made a survey available to collect the community’s input. Please click on the following link to read the introduction to the periodic review process, and to be taken to the survey: http://planning.lacounty.gov/baldwinhills/csd.
Much has happened since the County, the City of Culver City, community advocates and Plains Exploration & Production Company entered into a settlement agreement in June 2011. An inventory of emissions around the perimeter of the Inglewood Oil Field is currently underway. Also, the first phases of landscaping improvements, along La Brea and below Ladera Crest, are visible, and PXP is expected to begin construction on La Cienega Blvd early next year.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has completed a two-part community health assessment . The first part analyzed mortality and morbidity data for the population surrounding the oil field; the second part synthesized interviews with 1,000 residents regarding their health conditions and concerns. Also, a study looking at hydraulic fracking at the oil field has also been completed.
One conclusion, however, can be drawn from the entire settlement process: community involvement makes a difference. Together the community advanced a conversation the rest of the nation is only beginning to have. Community involvement is key to promote environmental stewardship and accountability around the Inglewood Oil Field and throughout the Second District.
Lastly, please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the information contained within the attachments to this e-mail, which include the upcoming Community Advisory Panel meeting notice and agenda for the meeting this Thursday, May 23rd at 7pm at the Kenneth Hahn Recreation Center, as well as the periodic review process flowchart (as discussed during the April CAP meeting). In addition to collecting input from the electronic survey above, the Department of Regional Planning will also be collecting public comments during the May 23rd CAP meeting.
This information is also provided on the Baldwin Hills CSD’s website at http://planning.lacounty.gov/baldwinhills.
Please contact Rena Kambara via email at firstname.lastname@example.org should you have any questions.
Community members and volunteers gathered at Mary M. Bethune Park in Florence-Firestone on a recent Saturday to give the five-acre park a much-needed makeover. Nearly 200 people including adults, young adults and children rolled up their sleeves to rake leaves, plant drought-tolerant plants and paint over graffiti on picnic benches and walls near the park pool, the handball court and the baseball field.
Joe Titus, who has lived in the neighborhood for all of his 85 years and is co-captain of the Bethune Park Block Club, noted that the graffiti, trash and unattended to leaves on the ground had taken the luster off the park . He was eager to pitch in and enjoyed the team effort that within only a few hours, burnished the park’s appearance.
“There were people all over the place,” said Titus. “I was so busy painting the light pole I didn’t pay attention to what all the other volunteers were doing, but when I finished painting, everything was clean. The park looks beautiful.”
Volunteers didn’t stop at cleaning the park. They also picked up trash and swept the sidewalks of the surrounding neighborhood.
The collaborative community effort was organized by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ office, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the Department of Public Works, the Florence –Firestone / Walnut Park Chamber of Commerce, the Bethune Park Block Club, the Los Angels County Sheriff’s Department Century Station and about 100 students from Public Service Community High School.
Whether it’s buying seasonal fruits and vegetables, or getting to know specific vendors and tasting their home grown delicacies, or meeting up with friends for freshly brewed coffee, farmers’ markets have become an important part of life in Los Angeles.
Now, every Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., residents and others can enjoy the Crenshaw Christian Center Farmers’ Market, off of Vermont Ave. in the heart of South L.A. The market came about thanks to the efforts of Professor Cynthia Davis of Charles Drew University, who applied for a grant through the Federal Department of Agriculture, which provided seed money for venture.
The farmers’ market will not only strengthen community ties, but it will also increase healthy food options for local residents in an area where there is an overabundance of highly processed, sugar- infused, fast food options.
“It’s not a coincidence that South Los Angeles both lacks access to fresh produce and experiences disproportionately high rates of obesity and diet-related chronic disease,” said Sondos Islam, PhD, MPH, MS, Associate Professor and Director of the
Urban Public Health Program at Charles Drew. “Increasing availability of fresh fruits and vegetables is a significant preventative measure to improve the health outcomes of our community and meet the demand of residents in this food desert.”
As Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine.”
Los Angeles International Airport is the third busiest airport in the nation, with nearly 75 air carriers and more than 600-daily flights.
While this is good news for the tourism industry and the regional economy in general, for residents of the Del Aire, Lennox and Athens communities who live directly beneath the LAX flight path, the constant noise from the plane engines is a never ending nuisance.
But soon, many of those residents might get some respite. From now through September 15, 2015, homeowners who meet certain qualifications will be eligible to apply for free insulation of houses and apartment buildings under the County Community Development Commission’s Residential Sound Insulation Program. Sound insulation improvements include the installation of new windows, exterior doors, attic insulation, vents, electrical panel upgrades, heating ventilation and air conditioning systems.
In order to qualify, homes must be located in a designated 65 decibel noise level within the communities of Athens, Del Aire, and Lennox, as determined by the Federal Aviation Administration and Los Angeles World Airports. The CDC estimates that approximately 6,200 homes are eligible for the soundproofing program, with an estimated value of $27,000 to $32,000 per home. It is free of charge to homeowners and although administered by the county, is fully funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and Los Angeles World Airports. To date, the CDC has soundproofed 2,200 homes.
“Our goal is to ensure that every resident in these communities is aware of the program so that they may apply for the program while funds remain available,” said Cordé Carrillo, director of the CDC’s Economic and Housing Development Division
When Athens resident Jeriel Womack, 55,heard about the program, she called the CDC to find out if her home qualified — within seven months, her three-bedroom home was soundproofed.
“The noise would wake me up in the morning and keep me up at night,” said Womack. “I now have a new window, a sliding door, heating and air condition system. I am completely satisfied with the improvements to my home. Not only do I no longer have to hear the noise from the planes, I now no longer hear the cars speeding up and down the street, the dogs barking, the fire tucks or the police sirens.”
Womack was so impressed with the service and the quality she received, and the short time that it took to install the new soundproofing products, that she told her neighbors about the program, several of whom also have received sound proofing products in their homes.
“The airport is a vital economic engine for the entire Southern California region, but it is essential that we be sensitive to the needs of residents in the communities and neighborhoods adjacent to LAX,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This soundproofing program is meeting a long-sought need in these communities and already it has begun to improve the quality of life for residents. Now we have to get the word out so as many people as possible take advantage of these remedies.”
For more information, please contact the Community Development Commission at: (626) 586-1840.
Imagine an oasis in the heart of bustling Los Angles — a place home to scenic meadows, edible gardens, a yoga deck and an observation area overlooking downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles residents may soon be able to enjoy such a retreat. A proposal to create the Stoneview Nature Center, a five-acre parkland expansion project in Baldwin Hills between Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area and the Baldwin Hills Overlook, is moving forward.
The Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority already has allocated $5.3 million of Proposition A funds, known as the Safe Neighborhood Parks Proposition, to the county for the nature center project, and the Board of Supervisors has thrown its support behind the project as well. Recently, the supervisors authorized the Department of Parks and Recreation to apply for a $5 million-grant from the Baldwin Hills Conservancy that would enable it to secure the remaining half of the estimated $10.3 million project.
When completed, the project will include a 4,000-square-foot community facility with a multi-purpose room, an outdoor classroom, and protected open space, all to be managed by the county Department of Parks and Recreation. Also, the project design will incorporate sustainable and environmentally friendly design elements that are compatible with green building design, construction and maintenance.
If the application is approved, county officials estimate that the project will be completed in two years.
“For over five years, stakeholders have been working towards the goal of creating open space that suits the needs and desires of both students and nature lovers,” said Baldwin Hills Conservancy Executive Officer David McNeill. “The Stoneview Project will be a welcome addition to the parklands . ”
The county plans to include an at-risk youth component to the ongoing care of the site though the county’s Youth Employment Plan. Youth will be hired to maintain the facility and landscaping surrounding the nature center.
Located at the former site of an elementary school that was purchased by the Baldwin Hills Regional Conservation Authority in 2011, the Stoneview Nature Center is part of Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas’ vision to create more accessible open space in the Second District.
“It’s an opportunity to expand parkland and public recreational amenities, allowing residents and visitors alike to enjoy open landscape with native plants and behold the natural wonders of Los Angeles,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “This project is a win for county residents all around. It will expose youth to nature, create jobs, and serve as a protective habitat for wildlife.”
Second district residents will soon be seeing a lot more green.
Beginning in July, eight cities in the district will receive $250,000 in funding remaining from a 1992 ballot initiative to upgrade and make a variety of improvements to their local parks. Culver City’s Syd Kronenthal Park, for example, will get a playground that is renovated in accordance with the Americans with Disability Act; the city of Carson will have new outdoor fitness zones at Anderson, Calas, Dolphin, Dominguez and Hemingway parks and swimming pools at Compton’s Lueders and Gonzales parks will receive improvements.
The money comes from the interest earned on funds collected from a November 1992 ballot measure that taxpayers approved to fund more open space; Proposition A parcel tax assessment passed with 64 percent of voters supporting the formation of the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District.
And more improvements are on the way.
Beautifying open space and creating exercise areas in these communities has been a top priority for Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas. Because of the historically low number of parks and limited options for healthy food, many residents in the Second District suffer from high levels of childhood obesity, high blood pressure and other health related issues.
With the support of Chairman Ridley-Thomas, the Department of Parks and Recreation applied for and received two grants that will help to address these issues and enhance the overall quality of life in communities.
Specifically, the department is currently working on a m aster p lan that will address the park and recreation needs of residents in the county’s unincorporated communities. Funded by a $1 million grant from the state, the first phase of the master plan will focus on East Rancho Dominguez, Lennox, West Athens, and Willowbrook in the Second District. Community members will have a chance to shape the plans by participating interviews, focus groups, workshops, community surveys and outreach fairs.
With an additional $38,500 grant from the state, the Department of Parks and Recreation will do a comprehensive inventory of trees at 26 parks in the county, including Athens Park, East Rancho Dominguez Park, Lennox Park, Helen Keller Park, George Washington Carver Park, Mona Park, Earvin “Magic” Johnson Recreation Area and Martin Luther King Jr. Fitness Garden. This tree inventory will also provide valuable information for the Master Plan.
Both the master plan – phase one and the tree inventory projects will be completed within two years. The funding, upgrades and renovations come as part of the county of Los Angeles’ effort to improve the quality of outdoor life in the region.
“I am so pleased to see these urban “greening” initiatives going forward,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “Creating desirable and beautiful open spaces for our residents will impact future generations in a positive way. This initiative will continue to be a top priority for me.”
Del Aire Park, located near the I-105 and 1-405 junction in an oft-forgotten section of the county, was in desperate need of a facelift. John Koppelman, Del Aire Neighborhood Association president, would walk through the park and bemoan the dim lighting, muddy and patchy grass, its tiny community room and “scary” bathrooms.
Now Koppelman and other residents can be proud. A beautiful new park has taken root, complete with a $4 million renovation of its community building, gym, baseball field and outdoor areas with better lighting, new bathrooms and a groundbreaking civic art project—California’s first public fruit park.
Led by Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas, in partnership with the county Arts Commission, the Department of Parks and Recreation and the artists collaborative Fallen Fruit, the park has become a showcase for “edible art.” It is a new type of community park—one that harkens back to the old days of California ranchos and orchards and that offers a sense of home for all the neighbors.
Fallen Fruit, founded by artists David Burns, Mathias Viegener and Austin Young, planted 27 fruit trees, eight grape vines, dwarf lemons and rosemary in Del Aire and 60 fruit trees were given away to local residents. The plantings are too young to yield fruit, but within a few more seasons, they should bring forth plenty to harvest. Residents will be able to enjoy plums and peaches in the summer, pomegranate and persimmon in the fall, lemons, oranges and kumquats in the winter. The artists hope that nature’s bounty will encourage sharing and local pride.
“Generosity brings generosity,” said Young.
The edible art project is an example of what Chairman Ridley-Thomas seeks to establish throughout his district. Neighborhood involvement is the key to creating stronger community ties, he said.
“We took advantage of an opportunity to think creatively about community wellbeing, health and sustainability through what one might consider “edible art,” said Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “I believe that community gardens and farmers markets are truly the town centers of thriving communities.”
Nine-year-old Aaron Luby, who was getting ready to zoom along the park in his Razor, said he was very pleased to have a surplus of fruit readily available.
“This is good,” he said. “If we have a shortage of fruit, we still have it at the park.”
In a moving ceremony, the flag pole at the park was dedicated to a fallen soldier, Specialist Daniel Patrick Cagle, who died shortly after his 22nd birthday in 2007 while on duty in Iraq. Daniel grew up in Del Aire and would often come to the park to play, said his mother Gail Johnson.
“This is a very bittersweet experience,” she said. “Daniel used to play in this park. I am sure he would feel very humbled by this. We feel very honored that the community would embrace him and his service.”
As for, Koppelman, well, he couldn’t be happier.
“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “We have a homerun!”
The County of Los Angeles is now accepting applications for the 2013 “Green Leadership Awards” program, announced Chief Executive Officer William T Fujioka. “As one of the largest employers in Southern California, the County of Los Angeles practices and promotes good environmental stewardship.” said CEO Fujioka. “The Green Leadership Awards program provides a unique opportunity for the Board of Supervisors to recognize the outstanding efforts of both the private and public sectors to improve environmental sustainability.”
Each year, residents, businesses and local governments and community-based organizations in the County submit entries that show innovative and creative solutions to challenges involving environmental issues.
All County residents, public agencies, businesses, and nonprofit organizations are eligible to participate in the Green Leadership Awards program. The Board of Supervisors will recognize the winning outstanding projects at a regular Board meeting in April as part of its annual observance of Earth Day.
For more information, including guidelines and an application, please visit www.lacounty.gov
Application deadline: February 22, 2013 by 5:00 p.m.
Not only is the new East Rancho Dominguez Library a bright light beckoning readers to browse through its bookshelves, it is now also the first building built by a Los Angeles County agency to receive one of the highest honors in environmental design.
The 7,200-square-foot library on East Rose Street and South Atlantic Ave. in unincorporated East Rancho Dominguez was recently granted a coveted LEED Platinum status from the U.S Green Building Council. The designation, decided on by a national committee of architects, designers and environmental experts, was given for the library’s design and eco-friendly construction including the use of solar panels, installation of water efficient facilities, drought resistant landscaping and its pedestrian friendly setting. By achieving the highest LEED status, the library which was completed in late October, stands as a national model of innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility that others can point to for inspiration. With so many concerns about climate change, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas has taken the lead in ensuring new buildings in his 2nd district neighborhoods also reduce their carbon footprint. The library is only one example among dozens of new projects to “green” the 2nd District. The new library, which is home to 35,000 books, public computers with Wi-Fi Internet connection, a community room, homework study room and displays of public art, is the anchor in part of a community revitalization effort that will create a town center feel around the adjacent East Rancho Dominguez Park. With its bright blue, orange and fuchsia panels and welcoming drought-tolerant landscaping, the library is expected to become a hub for the community.
Next for Rancho Dominguez is the construction of a new $4.4 million senior and community center that will be built across the street from the new library at East Rancho Dominguez Park. That new center, will provide referrals for health care, mental health, employment services and other social and recreational services to approximately 1,200 residents, but it will also include a dining area, computer room, game room, fitness equipment and office space. Construction is set to begin in 2014.
“When residents walk by the new library and see the solar panels and preferred parking for electric vehicles, they are experiencing first-hand what it’s like to live in a more sustainable world,” said Supervisor and Board Chairman Ridley-Thomas. “Once they learn about the design features used for the library it will hopefully be a natural transition to begin using compact florescent light bulbs and drought tolerant landscaping at their own homes. Everyone can reduce their carbon footprint and this library shows people how they too can live a greener life.”