Stoneview Nature Center Project Moves Forward

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.

[image_lightbox url=”http://ridley-thomas.lacounty.gov/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/map.gif” title=”Stoneview Nature Center Project Moves Forward” align=”none”][/image_lightbox]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.”