Los Angeles County Moves to Open Schoolyards to Public Uses

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors just approved a motion to extend and expand an agreement with the L.A. Unified School District for the use of recreational facilities at Walnut Park Elementary School.

2 minute read

March 4, 2024, 10:00 AM PST

By Clement Lau

Increasing access to recreational facilities that already exist at schools is one of the oldest and most effective ways to provide more opportunities for physical activity and play in neighborhoods.  After all, even the most under-served areas have schools.  At a time of budget cuts and shortfalls, maximizing access to existing facilities is an efficient and economical use of public resources.  

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn that opens the door to continued and expanded shared use by the County of a Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) campus in Southeast Los Angeles. Specifically, the Walnut Park Elementary School campus has been home to Walnut Nature Park operated by the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) on evenings and weekends for many years. The approved Board motion authorizes DPR to initiate a new agreement with LAUSD to extend the agreement for use of the nature park for ten years as well as expand it to include the school’s playground and multi-use field.

According to the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment, Walnut Park is an area with a very high level of park need. Walnut Nature Park had been the only park in the community for many years until Nogales Park opened late last year. Los Angeles County and LAUSD first entered into an agreement to share the Walnut Park Elementary School site in the late 1990s, when a first-of-its-kind Joint Use Agreement (JUA) was signed. This JUA was a model and template for subsequent JUAs. 

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 in Supervisor Janice Hahn

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