Park Planning in a Pandemic

In pursuit of a grant for park development, Los Angeles County engages community members virtually to gather input and design a new park.

2 minute read

October 6, 2020, 11:00 AM PDT

By Clement Lau

Even before COVID-19, it was difficult to secure grants through California's Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Grant Program funded by Proposition 68. The process was extremely competitive and there were simply not enough funds to satisfy all of the requests from cities and counties across the vast Golden State.

Things are even more challenging this year as the pandemic and associated public health orders have made it very difficult for park agencies to conduct any in-person engagement activities. Community engagement factors heavily in the evaluation and scoring of grant applications, because the state wants to ensure that park proposals reflect community input and a rigorous and comprehensive planning processes.

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was able to secure Prop. 68 grant funds for four park projects in underserved communities last year. Building on that success and seeking to address the need of more communities, DPR is again working on grant applications for various projects, including the proposed Primmer Park in the unincorporated community of Littlerock in the Antelope Valley.

As Julie Drake reports in this article, DPR, with the assistance of consultants from MIG, recently held an on-line meeting to gather public input and design the new 3.5-acre park. While using Zoom to engage residents might be less than ideal, the meeting went well, with productive discussions and general agreement among participants on a design that incorporates a variety of amenities to meet the needs of all segments of the community.

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