Key Facts from L.A. County's Park Needs Assessment Study

L.A. County's Parks and Rec Dept. has just completed a major study of the county's park needs. Departmental Facilities Planner Clement Lau explains the study and below are a few things that came to light.

2 minute read

July 19, 2016, 10:00 AM PDT

By wadams92101

Griffith Park

shalunts / Shutterstock

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) just released its Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment report. The release culminated a 15-month effort by DPR that started in March last year, writes Departmental Facilities Planner Clement Lau. 

The study, he explains:

  • Uses a set of metrics to measure and document park needs for each study area;
  • Establishes a framework to determine the overall level of park need for each study area;
  • Offers a list of priority park projects for each study area;
  • Details estimated costs for the priority park projects by study area;
  • Builds a constituency of support and understanding of the park and recreational needs and opportunities; and
  • Informs future decision-making regarding planning and funding for parks and recreation.
To reach out to the county's various communities: 
Thousands of residents participated in workshops across the county, revealing a high level of interest in park and recreation issues.  Community workshops were facilitated by the lead agency in each study area which was either an individual city or the County.  (A few cities and the County opted to use community-based organizations as facilitators for a number of the meetings.) Facilitators were provided with various resources, including a group training session, a Facilitator Toolkit in print and digital formats, and a $2,500 stipend to cover workshop expenses.  Translation of workshop and outreach materials were also available in Spanish, Chinese, Korean, and Armenian.
Some of the facts revealed in the study include: 
  • [M]ore than half of L.A. County residents live in areas of very high or high park need. 
  • Study areas with Very High park need have an average of just 0.7 acre of parkland per 1,000 residents and areas with High park need have an average of 1.6 acres of parkland.
  • A total of 200 new park projects were prioritized in 138 study areas.
  • The total rough order-of-magnitude cost to implement park project identified by communities and managing agencies, as well as deferred maintenance, is $21.5 billion. 
  •  This consists of $8.8 billion for prioritized projects, $12 billion for deferred maintenance, and $0.7 billion for specialized facilities.
Coming on the heels of the study: 
On July 5, 2016, the Board of Supervisors adopted the Countywide Parks Needs Assessment and voted in support of placing a parks funding measure on the November ballot.  The “Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Beaches, Rivers Protection and Water Conservation Measure” would add a parcel tax of one-and-a-half cents per square foot of development. 
Lau goes into more detail in his article, which can be found at the link below. 

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