EAST LOS ANGELES — Originally from Puebla, Mexico, Antonio Sanchez longs for the green parks he remembers as a child.
He’s been living in East Los Angeles for thirty years now, and he’s looking at a nearby plot of land owned by Edison that could soon become a green park for his East L.A. community, thanks to a recent motion authored by L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis.
“I believe the motion is a very good idea for the community so that children have a place to play sports and so that families can gather together safely,” Sanchez explained.
Sanchez works hard for his family through his independent tortilla business, and said he and his children have to drive miles away from their own neighborhood in order to access a spacious green park. Currently, only 34 percent of all East L.A. residents live within walking distance to a park.
“Political leaders need to do more to improve life for residents in East Los Angeles,” Sanchez said.
And while Southern California Edison is building up walls around the corridor in hopes of keeping out homeless encampments, Supervisor Solis has begun negotiations with Edison through the county Department of Parks and Recreation, requesting a 30-year license agreement to convert the lot into a park.
“Hopefully it would be a success and actually a gift to the community there. Many, many people will benefit from the ability to go outside and have a park, have a safe place, and not have to worry about playing in the street,” Solis said.
The plot of land is on Whittier Blvd. and Hubbard Street, a location very close to Sanchez’s home. It's a location that could change the future of many young people looking for the health benefits that come with open access to green space.
“It’s important to have green spaces, swimming pools, and gyms, especially for the youth of this generation, to help them stay off mobile devices, and improve their futures,” Sanchez explained.
A future where green parks are considered a human right.