LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The LA County Board of Supervisors Tuesday unanimously adopted a countywide assessment of park needs identifying priority areas for development of recreational facilities, and calling for efforts to transform “degraded lands” such as landfills and oil fields into open spaces, especially in lower-income communities.
The Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment identifies high-need areas and sets targets for acquisition and protection of natural lands, restoration of “degraded lands” and establishment of regional and rural recreation.
The plan is patterned after a 30x30 strategy — the goal of which is to conserve 30% of land and coastal waters by 2030 to mitigate the effects of climate change. The report adopted by the board Tuesday, dubbed the “PNA+,” updates an original needs assessment approved in 2016.
“As the author of the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment, I am thrilled that we now have a holistic pathway in delivering equity-based park projects,” Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement following the board vote. “I want to thank the many residents, community-based organizations, and State Conservancies that helped shape and inform this study. The PNA+ serves as a national model for park equity and will have a transformative impact in the region. It will help us reimagine and redefine traditional conservation — including the restoration of degraded lands such as the Puente Hills Landfill in my district.”
The report adopted Tuesday noted that people of color account for 84% of the people living in priority areas for environmental restoration projects — meaning areas with burdens such as hazardous waste, poor air and water quality and high pollution. Solis noted that no new local parks have been developed in rural unincorporated areas in the county since the adoption of the original needs assessment in 2016.
“Parks, open spaces, recreation facilities, trails, and gardens are essential community infrastructure, but not all communities have access to these resources,” Norma Edith García-Gonzalez, director of the county Department of Parks and Recreation and the Los Angeles County Regional Parks and Open Space District, said in a statement. “We are committed to addressing the significant park and recreation needs documented in the 2016 PNA and the 2022 PNA+ in ways that produce tangible results, provide multiple benefits, and improve the quality of life for the residents we serve. Every Los Angeles County resident in every neighborhood deserves safe and accessible parks.”