Los Angeles/ Transportation & Infrastructure
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Published on February 29, 2024
LA County Board Approves Expanded Schoolyard Sports and Recreation Program in Southeast LASource: County of Los Angeles

Los Angeles kids and families are hitting a jackpot of sorts as the LA County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to put sports and recreation right in their backyard—by way of, quite literally, their local schoolyard. Supervisor Janice Hahn championed the motion which effectively prolongs and widens the shared use alliance with the Los Angeles Unified School District at Walnut Park Elementary School, a compact Southeast LA community school, according to a recent announcement.

The big win means Walnut Park Elementary isn't just for reading, writing, and 'rithmetic come nighttime and weekends; it transforms into a nature park tended by the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation—a boon for an area desperately short on open spaces for the community to breathe easy, Hahn stressed, saying, "We are ready to deliver sports and events to our residents here as soon as this agreement is finalized." These aren't empty words, as the gears are in motion to roll out sports programs in the following months, which is critical given the community's lack of sports facilities.

Norma E. García-González, Director of the County's Department of Parks and Recreation, underscored the significance of the park to the neighborhood, pointing out that Walnut Nature Park is a vital source of green space and nature access, especially in such a park-poor area, "Walnut Nature Park provides critical greenspace and access to nature in one of the most park-poor communities in the County of Los Angeles" García-González told county officials.

Breaking new ground back in the '90s with a Joint Use Agreement (JUA) that became a template for future partnerships, LA County and LAUSD led the way in multifunctional public space usage. With a nod from the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education still pending, the hope is to continue that innovative spirit for another decade, building upon the efforts initiated by then-Supervisor Gloria Molina who inaugurated the initiative in 2001.