State Awards $18.5 Million for Urban Parks by The Trust For Public Land and Partners

California has awarded $18.5 million in grants for five urban parks being built and improved by The Trust for Public Land, including three in Los Angeles County and two in the San Francisco Bay area

“We are very grateful for these awards and they will go a long way toward helping us achieve our mission of creating parks and playgrounds for people in some of the most underserved areas of California,” Sam Hodder, California Director of The Trust for Public Land, said today.

The grants were awarded under AB31, a law enacted by the California legislature in 2008 which directs a portion of the park funding approved by voters under Proposition 84 toward the development of parks in California communities which most need them.

“We thank the state of California for this vote of confidence in our program of building parks in cities,” said Hodder. “And in particular, we want to thank California Sen. Kevin De Leon for authoring AB31 and making sure Californians in disadvantaged communities have a green place to play.”

The five parks, and the amounts they were awarded, include:

Hilltop Park, San Francisco – $5 million

Hilltop is a 3.6 acre park in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood, one of the city’s most economically challenged areas. Hilltop Park was once a vibrant gathering place for the Bayview Hunters Point community, but almost all the park’s amenities have been removed and it is neglected. The Trust for Public Land will rebuild the park, in partnership with the San Francisco Parks and Recreation Department and local group, Parks 94124, an advocacy group formed by women in the neighborhood.

Rocky Graham Park, Marin City – $4.9 million

This 1-acre vacant lot in Marin City is often used for illegal dumping and contributes nothing to this park-poor community. Marin City is the most challenged community in Marin County, which annually ranks among the wealthiest counties in the nation. The community was created during World War II to house shipyard workers and unlike the affluent communities surrounding it, Marin City lacks community resources. The future park will be located next to a school, civic offices, a health and senior center, and federally financed housing and will be a focal point for the community. The Trust for Public Land will rebuild the park, in partnership with the Marin City Community Services District and local neighborhood groups.

South Victoria Avenue Park, Los Angeles – $2.2 million

This lot in south Los Angeles, in a community facing serious drug and gang problems where more than one-third of residents are living below the poverty line, will be transformed into a brand new park. There is widespread support for the creation of a park, which will include a playground for 5 to 12 year old children, a skate spot, fitness equipment, and a junior-sized basketball court.

Madison Avenue Park and Community Garden, Los Angeles – $2.2 million

This one-half acre lot in East Hollywood will become a new park serving a densely-populated community with few parks within walking distance. Half the lot will be turned into a community garden which will be used by neighbors, and the other half will be a park, including a playground for young children, fitness equipment, a junior-sized basketball area, and a place for young children to ride tricycles.

Larch Avenue Park, Lawndale – $4.1 million

The densely populated Lawndale community in Los Angeles County ranks the lowest in park acres per capita in a survey of 17 South Bay Cities, and has only one small park which has no amenities for older children. This park will be built on a one-acre vacant lot. The park will include two playgrounds, one for children aged 3 to 5 years, and the other for children from 5 to 12 years old. It will also include fitness equipment, picnic tables and benches, and a walking path.