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Northeast Los Angeles Placemaking Competition: Griffith Park Eastside Park

Support Provided By
placemaking-esplanade

Project submitted by: Robert García

Project Summary and Scale

The 28-acre site of Griffith Park on the East Bank of the L.A. River could be the city's next great urban park. Picture a bucolic stream, a tree-shaded picnic area, a path for walkers and equestrians, a playground for little ones, and athletic fields to enjoy soccer and other sports.

Why are you committed to this project?

The City Project with diverse allies have been advocating for the site to be converted into a real park to benefit the neighboring park poor community for years. Griffith Park on the East Bank of the L.A. River furthers our vision for equal justice, democracy, and livability for all.

What are the most relevant characteristics of project site and scale?

The 28-acre site is already parkland that the city is using for a service yard. It can be restored as a real park in a park poor community, with the right leadership and sensitive planning that takes into account the needs of all users. Our conceptual plan does this with three design alternatives. One envisions a big park totaling 26.78 acres. But the restoration can start right now in stages starting with the River Esplanade.

Describe how this project will reinforce a sense of place or enhance the built environment.

The conceptual plan includes a balanced park with active and passive recreation, in place of the existing city service yard and water plant, along prime riverfront parkland. Scenic pathways and trails would allow for exercise and relaxing for individuals and families. Playing fields, interpretive learning spaces and public art would enhance the park. Many people and groups have contributed to the conceptual plan to ensure it takes into account the needs of all users in the community.

Provide a description of the project's necessary planning activities.

Many people and groups have contributed to the conceptual plan, including The City Project, landscape architect Ulises Diaz and Studio Dos ó Tres, GreenInfo Network, Anahuak Youth Sports Association, Griffith Park Draft Master Plan Working Group, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, FOLAR, community and city leaders, and others. In summer 2012, Tom LaBonge and Ed Reyes introduced a motion to have the city Recreation and Parks Department, Bureau of Sanitation and Bureau of Engineering do a study to determine "what land . . . might be available along the eastern bank of the Los Angeles River to create open space."

placemaking-esplanade-big

What is a rough estimate of your project budget?

The conceptual plan is presented in three design alternatives, and can begin in stages. The cost for the River Esplanade in Alternative III is estimated at $1.7 to $2.55 million.

How does this project leverage existing resources and efforts?

The project leverages the following existing efforts. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is studying the restoration of the L.A. River. President Barack Obama has designated the greening of the Los Angeles and San Gabriel Rivers as one of the top 101 priorities across the nation for his America's Great Outdoors initiative, out of only two per state. The Department of Interior has also named the L.A. River one of seven urban waters priorities across the nation. In summer 2012, Tom LaBonge and Ed Reyes introduced a motion to have the city Recreation and Parks Department, Bureau of Sanitation and Bureau of Engineering do a study to determine "what land . . . might be available along the eastern bank of the Los Angeles River to create open space."

What community need is your project serving?

In Los Angeles, children of color living in poverty with no access to a car have the worst access to parks, and suffer disproportionately from obesity and diabetes and at-risk behavior including gangs, crime drugs and violence. Within one mile of the site east of the river, there are 0.8 acres of open space per 1,000 residents. 40.8% of the people are Hispanic, 21.7% other, and 18.0% Asian. 20.3% live in poverty. Places to play like Griffith Park on the East Bank of the L.A. River can help provide green space and ensure free access.

If your project is realized, what does success look like?

If realized, the 28-acre site of Griffith Park on the East Bank of the L.A. River would be the city's next great urban park. Picture a bucolic stream, a tree-shaded picnic area, a path for walkers and equestrians, a playground for little ones, and athletic fields to enjoy soccer and other sports. Now picture it all in an easily accessible area of Griffith Park near working class families with a stunning view of the hills and river. This park would further the vision for equal justice, democracy, and livability for all along the River and beyond.

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