LOS ANGELES — Gov. Jerry Brown and a host of other elected officials and community leaders were joined by thousands of people April 22 to celebrate the grand opening of Los Angeles State Historic Park.
The 34-acre site is surrounded by the communities of Lincoln Heights, Elysian Park, Chinatown, Solano Canyon and Chavez Ravine. The area was once slated for industrial development, but that was changed to the park project through a process of more than 65 public meetings since the 1990s that eventually led to the purchase of the land by the California Department of Parks and Recreation.
“We’ve completed a long public process to renew our public state parks system,” said state Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird. “Part of the renewal effort was the goal of equitable access to parks in the cities across the state. This opening today coincides with that goal and results from a two-decade effort by this community to advocate for this park. My congratulations to all that made this day come.”
“Too many of our kids grow up without park access, with nowhere to play, have a birthday party or a picnic,” said state Senate Pro-Tem Kevin de Leon. “This park has it all — walkways, bike paths, nature, history, the L.A. skyline — and all within steps of Chinatown. This spot is intrinsic to the birth of L.A. and is just as much a museum to L.A. history as it is an open green space.”
The park, at 1245 N. Spring St., will be open seven days a week from 7 a.m. until sunset. Its features include a mile-long trail, a flexible green space for sports, community and cultural events and concerts, a children’s play area, and constructed wetlands and habitat areas with new trees and landscaping.
“This is a park built with the community rather than just for the community,” said State Parks Director Lisa Mangat. “Los Angeles State Historic Park also launched our first-in-the-state, community-focused Promotores Program, which hires and trains local residents to communicate and work with their peers in the community.”
Drawing inspiration from the public health promotora, or community outreach work model, State Parks’ Promotores Program has been launched at Candlestick Point State Recreation Area and will expand across the state.
“Three years ago I teamed up with Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León to secure and protect $20.8 million in crucial state funding for the renovation and completion of Los Angeles State Historic Park,” Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez said. “The park’s opening is a big win for Los Angeles and part of a larger vision to reconnect our cities with the natural environment.”