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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

Southern California

LA Parks Initiative Opens South LA Park

South L.A. is home to a new park that's part of an $80 million city-wide project.

South Los Angeles celebrated the opening of a new park at 105th Street Thursday.

Councilmember Bernard C. Parks joined the city's Department of Parks and Recreation, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation and First 5 L.A. to mark the grand opening as part of the city's "50 Parks Initiative." 105th Street Park, located in the Westmont neighborhood of South L.A., is the tenth of 50 parks that are being built as part of the initiative.

New park is unveiled in South LA (ATVN/Irene Byon)
New park is unveiled in South LA (ATVN/Irene Byon)

"By creating these parks in the least served neighborhoods of Los Angeles, we are permanently transforming our city," said Barry Sanders, president of the Board of Commissioners of  the Recreation and Parks Department.

Locations for the 50 parks funded by the initiative were determined by analyzing key demographic statistics including population density, median household income, the percentage of residents below the poverty line and the number of existing parks in every half-mile radius.

Sponsors correlated the addition of the new parks to the increased well-being of local children.

"We are pleased to support the healthy development of young children through our investment of nearly $1 million in the City of Los Angeles," said Kim Belshe, Executive Director of First 5 L.A.

"By providing spaces for play and physical activity, the 105th Street Park will promote exercise and help youngsters maintain a healthy weight."

Each of the parks uses efficient landscaping like "no mow" turf, drought tolerant planting and smart irrigation, as well as LED lighting to keep maintenence, water and energy costs low. They also feature "automatic safety features, efficient waste disposal and environmentally stable designs."

Approximately $80.9 million has been secured in total to fund the design and construction of these 50 parks throughout L.A. The funds were assembled by over a dozen sources including local, state and federal funds in addition to private funds from foundations, non-profits and corporate donations.

The Department of Parks and Recreation has added almost 660 acres of park space since 2007. 50 Parks Initiative sponsors said each park takes between 4 and 6 months to build, after the initial design has been approved.

The Department of Parks and Recreation hopes to complete and open 16 parks by July.

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