Downtown gets another park!

Downtown LA’s latest park bears witness to the power of civic engagement, prompting Mayor Villaraigosa to say “How ‘bout that!” as the President of the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council explains “I always say don’t wait for the City to do something for you, get out there and do something for yourself.  Look at what we can do together.”

The Spring Street Park is the 16th park to open since the 50 Parks Initiative launched last year, roughly ⅔ of an acre sitting atop a former parking lot between 4th and 5th street. It wasn’t many years ago that this was a regular location for the annual Park(ing) Day LA guerrilla event where temporary parks were set up in a Quixotic aspirational gasp or grasp for more parks.

Berman also serves as the spokesperson for the Friends of the Spring Street Park and as President of the Friends of the Old Bank District Gardens, all partners with the City of Los Angeles and the downtown community in developing and operating the park.

The successful development of the Spring Street Park demonstrates the power that comes from learning how the City works, in this case when Berman first became aware of the Quimby funds that could be tapped as large developments appeared in the neighborhood, triggering a requirement that developers contribute funds dedicated to the purchase and development of public space for the community.

Over the last seven years, the city has added 670 acres of park space, more than twice the amount of the previous two administrations combined, city officials say. As Villaraigosa reminded the crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony of this statistic, he was surrounded by the members of the community who made it happen, including the Neighborhood Council, members of the local Business Improvement District, neighboring businesses, local community associations, and the Departments of Rec & Parks, Transportation, and Engineering.

Land Use issues are one of the hottest topics in LA’s local communities and the ability to advocate for the neighborhood is a powerful skill as the residents and partners of the downtown community continue to demonstrate.
To find out more about land-use policy and to pick up some basic knowledge on how to navigate the system and to better represent local interests in land-use issues, join the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment for one of the following Planning 101 Workshops and join PlanCheckLA for Planning 102 Workshops.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 – Central Area
Saturday, August 17, 2013 – Valley
Saturday, August 24, 2013 – Harbor Area

Planning 101 workshops will be conducted by Deputy Director Alan Bell and City Planning staff, supported by PlanCheckNC which is made up of Neighborhood Council Land Use leadership. Workshops will run from 8am to 1pm. Call (213) 978-1551 or e-mail for more information.

Planning 102 workshops will be conducted by PlanCheckNC which also conducts membership meetings monthly, on the second Saturday of each month, and is open to the public. Visit PlanCheckNC for more information.

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