County officials recently approved an Olympic-sized pool for the Castaic Sports Complex, as well as a countywide public park needs assessment.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved the $7,625,000 project Tuesday, officials said. No more than $3.7 million is to come from Regional Park and Open Space District’s Excess Funds Project Fund, $3,066,000 will come from the county and $859,000 will come from Proposition 62 funds.
The project also includes construction of a retaining wall near the Southern California Edison Boundary, expansion of the restrooms, completion of the concession and exercise rooms and improvements of landscaping, walkway and decking, according to the agenda report.
Supervisors also voted Tuesday to fund L.A. County’s first-ever countywide public park needs assessment, clearing the way for a detailed study of the region’s park, infrastructure and recreational needs.
Acting on a joint motion by Mayor Michael D. Antonovich and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, the Board voted unanimously to allocate $3.5 million for a comprehensive analysis of up to 200 planning areas throughout the County.
“Today’s action incorporates a needs assessment based upon the input and engagement of communities throughout the county in our 88 cities and 134 unincorporated communities,” Mayor Antonovich said.
Expected to take about 15 months to complete, the assessment will begin in March and include parks and facilities owned and operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation, those under the individual jurisdiction of cities within Los Angeles County and others overseen by state and local agencies, town councils and not-for-profit organizations.
Drawing upon a GIS-based spatial analysis, local demographics and online data-management technologies, the assessment will center on a community-driven outreach process, with a premium placed on collaboration and feedback from residents and park staff in cities and County unincorporated areas. The analysis figures to help build a greater understanding of existing open space and recreation assets, and determine how best to improve, expand and make them more easily accessible to residents in all areas of the County.
With an emphasis on gathering data to inform future decision-making, the final product will not only identify geographic areas with park and open space needs, but will identify, prioritize, and outline costs for specific park and/or open space projects. Under the funding plan approved Tuesday, municipalities and other organizations within the planning areas can qualify for stipends to offset the cost of the community engagement process. For that component, residents will be invited to provide their points of view on the needs and desires in their own communities.
“This effort has never been done before and it is much needed,” said Ridley-Thomas. “Parks and recreational facilities can enhance and even transform neighborhoods. We must continue to bring green spaces to communities that need it, and enhance the parks and open spaces that we already have.”