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New South LA park turns foreclosed property into neighborhood space

Jan Perry along with neighborhood children break ground on Wall Street Park in South L.A.
Jan Perry along with neighborhood children break ground on Wall Street Park in South L.A.
via Council District 9

City officials have begun demolition on a foreclosed property in South L.A. that will soon be reborn as a park.

The new public space, dubbed Wall Street Park, is part of L.A.'s 50 Parks Initiative that takes properties left vacant in the housing crisis and transforms them into neighborhood parks. 

According to the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks , each park will include "environmentally sustainable designs and safety features that minimize park maintenance and maximize community impact."

The features including automatic time-lock gates that close the parks at night and solar-charged motion-activated cameras that aim to deter intruders at night.

"Park-poor" neighborhoods

Wall Street Park, located off of Manchester between Main and San Pedro streets, is being built on a plot of land owned by Chase Bank.

Area councilwoman Jan Perry, along with Chase, the L.A. Parks Foundation and the Dept. of Rec and Parks, held a groundbreaking ceremony at the site last week.

Perry said that in "urban communities" throughout L.A., there is a great need and want for  less blight and more greenery. She added that in areas that are "historically park-poor,"  the city must create more opportunities for outdoor recreation.

The 50 Parks Initiative is a public-private partnership to add more than 170 acres of open space to the City through new parks  -- a quarter of which will be under an acre in size. In August 2012, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced details of the initiative at one of the program's first parks.

Turning "hidden corners" into parks

Villaraigosa said locations for the 50 Parks plan were determined by demographic statistics: population density, number and percentage of residents in poverty, and the number of existing parks in a half-mile radius.

"We have scouted the city, looked in the hidden corners, and found the small parcels, the vacant lots, and the weedy patches that would be perfect for neighborhood parks,” said Mayor Villaraigosa last year. “The 50 Parks Initiative is putting some much needed nature in neighborhood after neighborhood."

KPCC reports that parks make up about 14 percent of L.A.'s landscape, but much of that green space is concentrated on mountain tops or in wealthier neighborhoods.

The "50 Parks" project focuses efforts on some of the city's most densely-populated areas, including South L.A. and the San Fernando Valley.

Coming up on February 14 is the opening of another "50 Parks" location -- Orchard Avenue Park in South L.A.