Los Angeles Takes On Equity and Resilience With New Parks Funding

City and county leaders shared their plans for millions in new annual revenue at the 2017 VerdeXchange Conference.

2 minute read

March 4, 2017, 11:00 AM PST

By Elana Eden

Los Angeles River Kayak

Alissa Walker / flickr

After a comprehensive survey revealed a serious lack of quality open space in Los Angeles County, voters overwhelmingly approved a November ballot measure providing $93 million a year for existing and new parks countywide.

Los Angeles City Councilmember David Ryu and Planning Commissioner Richard Katz joined Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy Chair Irma Muñoz and Trust for Public Land’s Tori Kjer at the recent VerdeXchange Conference (VX2017) to envision how the 88 cities, unincorporated areas, and community partners of Los Angeles County will take advantage of this opportunity.

They explain that the parks assessment grounded claims of need across the county in real data, providing a basis for the equitable distribution of funding. A disparity in access to quality open space was a key finding of the survey.

The new funding will prioritize multi-agency cooperation and public-private partnerships, as well as multi-benefit projects. Those could be parks that include free community gardens, or that contribute to the county's overall climate resilience by acting as stormwater capture and treatment facilities.

It will also go to projects that haven’t been traditionally thought of as fitting into park measures: beaches, watersheds, and real multi-benefit projects. We can absolutely get that slide and those swings in that park, but we can also get stormwater parks, so that we’re fulfilling multiple purposes with our open spaces.

The city of Los Angeles—which recently secured its own new parks funding from a reformed developer fee—also plans to pursue joint-use arrangements with schools that have open space or playgrounds.

"It's all about giving priority to projects that stretch every dollar by leveraging partners, state funds, county funds, and federal funds," Councilmember Ryu explains.

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