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Watts Park opens after long-awaited $6.8 million makeover

[pullquote_right]”All around you’ll see a newly landscaped and expanded areas for recreational opportunity,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas[/pullquote_right]Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined the Department of Parks and Recreation and a host of community organizations to dedicate the newly renovated Ted Watkins Memorial Park.  Crowds packed the park to celebrate the freshly renovated public space.

Eighty-five percent of the 27-acre park underwent a $6.8 million renovation. Improvements include a new walking path, fitness stations, new picnic area, Skate Park and multipurpose sports field.

Summer programs like the Parks After Dark program brings the local community together in the evenings.  Free computer classes and a teen club are additional community benefits.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas participates in tele-town hall with LA Urban League

More than 950 stakeholders participated in a telephone town hall with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who fielded and answered questions from second district residents on the progress and future of the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.

Participants asked the Supervisor about job eligibility along the Crenshaw Corridor, the impact of the 600 residents who packed the Metro Board Meeting on May 26, and what Leimert Park homeowners can do to ensure a Leimert Park station is included in the Crenshaw-to-LAX line.

During the hour-long discussion at the Los Angeles Urban League, the Supervisor reaffirmed his commitment to ensuring that the best possible rail line is built. That means pushing forward on several fronts: locating the financial resources to fund a Leimert Park Station at Vernon as part of the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line, advocating for the safest possible alignment through Park Mesa Heights and pushing for a Community Benefits Package that includes a local hiring policy, a small business contracting initiative, and sidewalk, landscape and storefront improvements along Crenshaw Boulevard designed to build enhance the Crenshaw Corridor communities.
[pullquote_right] “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right] The tele-town hall, co-hosted by the Urban League, was organized in response to the outrage and disappointment among Crenshaw community residents, businesses owners, and stakeholders along the Crenshaw Corridor at the Metro Board’s refusal in May to underground the proposed light rail line through Park Mesa Heights and its unwillingness to include funding for Leimert Park Village Station at Vernon.

On May 26, the Metro Board rejected Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion that directed Metro staff to look into funding alternatives to finance a Leimert Park Village Station and underground the portion of the line that runs through Park Mesa Heights using non-Measure R sources. The motion received three favorable votes and needed seven of the thirteen Metro Board votes to pass. Instead, the Metro Board rejected the Park Mesa tunnel option outright and paid lip service to the Leimert Park Village station at Vernon, agreeing to add it to the final environmental document, but failing to provide funding for it. Mayor Villaraigosa’s vote and the additional three votes of his appointees were critical to the passage of the weaker motion after unanimously opposing the tunnel.

Although the Metro Board did not deliver the outcome the community hoped for, the Supervisor reminded listeners that the community must move forward, they must “stay on board” – insisting on a Crenshaw-to-LAX line that is safe, efficient and provides economic opportunities and benefits for those who live, work and trade in the heart of South Los Angeles.

At the end of the tele-town hall, the Supervisor called on listeners to attend the Sept. 22 Metro Board meeting to support the Local Hire/Construction Careers Policy element of the Community Benefits Package, and left listeners with these final words, “Get Ready. The push for a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is not over. Remain informed; contact the Metro Board and your elected officials. Stay on board.”

Click here to view the Urban League’s poll results.

Click here to participate in the poll.

Click here to listen to the tele-town hall.

Metro goes even greener – One construction site at a time

Expediting LA County MTA’s Measure R Projects promises to reduce carbon emissions and get people out of their cars and onto public transit sooner. However, until today, the MTA Board had not addressed the threat of harmful emissions from traffic congestion caused construction activities as well as the use of outdated construction equipment on transit projects.

The MTA Board, with support from Supervisor Ridley-Thomas, committed to using greener, less polluting construction equipment and vehicles, and implement best practices to meet or exceed air quality emission standards in all construction projects performed on MTA properties and in the MTA rights-of-way.

With project costs estimated to only increase by only 0.3%, the “Green Construction Policy” will facilitate county-wide, cost-effective solutions to address this serious threat to our air quality.

Tree giveaways in Lennox

We are grateful to have partners like the Lennox Education Neighborhood Zone helping to improve the quality of life in Lennox…one orange tree at a time! Check out this video about their collaboration with the Great Park Corporation to hand out 115 trees at the Lennox Family Festival at Lennox Park last month.

Surviving the HEAT – Tips from L.A. County’s emergency survival program

The Second District is hot this summer.  That’s why staying cool is important to your health.  A list of L. A. County Cooling Centers is available here.

If you are planning to visit one of these Cooling Centers, it is advisable that you call in advance to make sure there is still seating available.  If a Cooling Center is not operational, check the list for another Cooling Center nearest you or call “2-1-1”.  Check with your local library when looking for a place to cool down.  They have great resources and plenty to read while you escape the heat. For further information on Heat Waves, click here.

If you plan to be outdoors, please take precautions to protect yourself from the sun and heat.

  • Avoid the sun from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the burning rays are strongest.
  • Reduce physical activity.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat and light colored lightweight, loose-fitting clothes when you are outdoors
  • Avoid hot, heavy meals that include proteins.
  • Set your air conditioner between 75° to 80°.  If you don’t have air-conditioning take a cool shower twice a day and visit a public air conditioned facility.
  • Drink plenty of fluids even if you are not thirsty.  Avoid alcohol.
  • Use sun screen with a sun protection factor of at least 15 if you need to be in the sun.

Symptoms of dehydration and heat cramps include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps and increased thirst.

Click here for a list of the locations and hours of operation for the Cooling Centers in Los Angeles County or dial 2-1-1.

For a listing of Los Angeles City Cooling Centers go to www.lacity.org or dial “3-1-1.”