Every neighborhood deserves a park, but in the Ninth District, open space is scarce and adding green space has been a chronic challenge. But this weekend, Councilmember Curren Price joined with members of CANNDU Neighborhood Council, local residents, volunteers and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust to break ground on a brand new park which will convert an under-utilized median into a lush parkway. When completed the project will include fitness zones, a toddler playground, picnic areas and a tree-lined seating area.
The Avalon and Gage Park was first identified by CANNDU neighborhood council and local residents in 2002. The goal was to create a neighborhood space for the densely populated but park-poor area. What started out as a plan to bring some planters and seating to the intersection of avalon and Gage quickly grew into a dream of creating a park for residents of all ages to enjoy. In 2009, the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust got involved and worked with the neighborhood council to secure Prop K funding as well as facilitate a community design process.
” The New Ninth is about bringing a transformation to our community, replacing blights and neglect with the kinds of amenities that so many other parts of our city enjoy,” said Councilman Curren Price. ” Nothing says change like taking an under used median and converting it into a park for residents of all ages to enjoy. I am excited and eager to see this project completed and thank the Neighborhood Land Trust and all of our partners for their investment and support.”
New Ninth Median Park
About 175 trees are expected to be ripped out along Crenshaw Boulevard, between Exposition and Sixty-Seventh Street, to make way for construction on Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Line, and the number could go up as the contractors make design changes. (That’s about a third of the total trees along the corridor.) Residents can’t believe they’re losing trees in the triple digits, especially because the area is still full of stumps from the space shuttle Endeavour’s trip to the California Science Center two years ago. One Leimert Park resident tells the LA Times: “The wonderful thing about this particular area of L.A. is that it had a lushness … but it lost its mystique and is sterile.”
The CSC promised to replant the trees it removed along Crenshaw at a four-to-one ratio, but only 10 trees have actually been replanted; the rest are in spots that have to stay treeless for the Metro construction. (A total of 400 trees in South LA, Westchester, and Inglewood were chopped; meanwhile, Miracle Milers are grousing about 100 and saying they don’t want even one taken down.) The reforestation delay has made residents wary of cutting down even more trees.
Crenshaw Trees Being Uprooted for Metro
As far back as 2008, the Trust for Public Land and USC’s Sustainable Cities were talking about turning some of LA’s 900 miles of often-sketchy alleyways into parks and community green space. The Green Alleys Project is anticipated to break ground this year on a pilot program in park-poor South LA that will turn two trashed alleys (one near Main Street between Fifty-Third and Fifty-Fourth, another at Fifty-Second and Avalon Boulevard) into functional community spaces with new lighting, art, native plants, and special light-colored pavement that will catch rainwater, saysWhich Way LA?.
South LA Narrow Seedy Alleys, slap some trees on ’em throw fresh paint down, call it a park
Last we checked in on the progress of the portion of the Slauson Corridor set to be transformed into the Towne Center to the Ladera Heights, Windsor Hills, View Park residents Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas was trying to collect input from the community on the name of the area and it should be designed. Well plans are in and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’s website had the following to say:
- Streetscape Improvements: After additional community feedback and analysis, it was decided that the three travel lanes in each direction on Slauson Avenue will remain. This will allow meaningful improvements to be done quickly and cost-effectively, while minimizing traffic impacts. Substantial improvements, including a bicycle route, raised landscaped medians, pedestrian lighting, and improvements to the parkway including benches and landscaping, will be made in order to improve the public right-of-way and create a pedestrian-friendly environment. Public Works has selected a consultant, KOA Corporation, to design the project and will hold a meeting in early 2014 to obtain input from the community regarding the style and types of parkway improvements.
- Community Business Revitalization Program: More than half a million dollars have been allocated Community Business Revitalization Program for small business owners on the south side of the street to make improvements to their facades. The businesses will receive new paint, window and awning replacement, extra lighting and improved signage. While the opportunity was offered to the business owners on the north side of the street, they declined to participate. The program is entirely funded with grants, and the improvements are set to begin early next year.
Slauson Corridor Project gaining momentum