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WE ALL NEED PARKS: COUNTYWIDE EFFORT ENCOURGES RESIDENTS TO HELP INDENTIFY
REGIONAL AND RURAL PARK AND RECREATION NEEDS
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation (LA County Parks) is inviting the public to participate in a community engagement and outreach process to help inform future planning and funding allocation to address regional and rural park and recreation needs. As a focused update to the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Parks Needs Assessment, this effort is called the Regional and Rural Edition. Specifically, it will apply an equity lens to comprehensively identify, analyze, map, and document:
· The need for Regional facilities such as regional parks, beaches and lakes, trails, natural areas and open spaces, and botanical gardens; and
· The park needs of Rural communities which are located in the Antelope Valley, Santa Clarita Valley, Santa Monica Mountains, and Santa Catalina Island.
With the support of the Regional Park and Open Space District, LA County Parks has initiated the Regional and Rural Edition in response to a motion by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors which called for the development of a needs assessment to address regional recreation, beaches, rural areas, and open space. It is also appropriate to study and evaluate regional and rural park and recreation needs at this time given that outdoor public spaces, such as beaches, local and regional parks, natural areas, and trails, have all become very popular during the COVID-19 pandemic as people seek opportunities for recreation and respite.
Designed to be extensive and inclusive, the community engagement and outreach process will be launched by LA County Parks in March 2021 in partnership with other County departments, community-based organizations, and other groups. Due to COVID-19 restrictions on in-person meetings and group gatherings, the process will consist primarily of online methods of engagement and physically distanced activities, including the following:
· Project Website Updates (https://lacountyparkneeds.
· Surveys/Polls: The first survey is available now at https://new.maptionnaire.com/
· Social Media, including photo competitions
· Phone Calls
· Focus Groups
“Parks are a matter of public health, social equity and serve a vital role in supporting resilient communities throughout Los Angeles County,” said Norma E. García-Gonzalez, Director of LA County Parks and Recreation. “We are excited to embark on this community outreach process that will enable us to better understand and document regional and rural park and recreation needs directly from the public. We encourage all Los Angeles County residents to participate and get involved. Their input will help inform planning and funding allocation for regional parks, open space, and trails.”
LA County Parks has also convened a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to help inform and guide the process of data collection and analysis, development of metrics, community engagement and outreach, and other key aspects of the project. The TAC includes representatives from a broad range of agencies and organizations with expertise in geographic information systems (GIS), beaches, parks, public health, regional planning, transportation, open space and conservation, and sustainability, including:
· Cal Poly Pomona
· LA County Department of Beaches and Harbors
· LA County Department of Parks and Recreation
· LA County Department of Public Health
· LA County Department of Regional Planning
· LA Metro
· National Recreation and Park Association
· Prevention Institute
· Southern California Association of Governments
· The Nature Conservancy
· The Wilderness Society
· UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability
“Unprecedented numbers of visitors to our regional parks and trails highlight the need for individuals and families to have access to parks and open space, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,“ said Norma E. García-Gonzalez, Director of LA County Parks and Recreation. “Now more than ever, we need to ensure that the future of our parks reflects the needs and interests of our diverse, growing population.”
LA County Parks is the lead agency charged with updates and implementation of the Countywide Parks Needs Assessment. The 2016 Parks Needs Assessment involved a 14-month process that included data collection and analysis, engagement with stakeholders and community members in cities and unincorporated areas, prioritization and cost estimation of prioritized park projects, and the determination of the level of park need in each study area based on a suite of metrics. The 2016 Parks Needs Assessment directly informed the development of Measure A, a Countywide funding measure for parks approved by nearly 75% of LA County voters in November 2016 and generated more than $90 million annually.
Per direction from the Board of Supervisors and the Grants Administration Manual for Measure A, the results of the Regional and Rural Edition will be used to help inform project planning and the competitive grant process. The Regional and Rural Edition will also provide valuable data and analyses to inform future park and recreation planning efforts by LA County Parks, cities, and other stakeholders.
For more information about the Regional and Rural Edition and the 2016 Parks Needs Assessment, please visit: https://lacountyparkneeds.org/