Building a Better Future with Parks

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Los Angeles County is taking stock of the parks and recreation facilities within its borders, and inviting residents to help shape a plan for upgrades and new construction going forward.

Through June 2016, the first ever Countywide Comprehensive Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment will gather data on existing parks, hiking trails, botanical gardens, wildlife sanctuaries and similar venues in both cities and unincorporated areas. Recreation facilities like swimming pools, gyms and skate parks will also be inventoried.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who initiated the Needs Assessment with a motion unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors in early 2015, said, “We are proud of the parks and recreational facilities that have been built throughout the Second District and the rest of the County, but more are needed to uplift our communities.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“I hope this Needs Assessment will unlock the possibilities for open spaces in our communities,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas added. “It could also lay the foundation for seeking additional public and private funding to improve existing projects and to build new ones.”

The Needs Assessment process includes holding community engagement meetings to solicit suggestions from the public. Meetings are scheduled in East Rancho Dominguez, Florence Firestone, Lennox, West Athens-Westmont, West Rancho Dominguez, Willowbrook and West Carson in January; and in Ladera Heights, Hawthorne and Alondra Park in February. Click here for dates, times, and locations.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas urged residents to attend the meetings in their neighborhoods, saying, “The Needs Assessment will only be as good as the feedback that we get. To ensure the results are meaningful, I encourage everyone to collaborate in the process.”

Alina Bokde, executive director of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, added, “This once-in-a-decade process is about understanding what each community has and what it still needs.”

“It’s an opportunity for residents to voice their priorities – whether it be a new basketball court, playground or an area to sit and enjoy nature,” she added. “Your input will make a difference in building a better future with parks.”