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CRA Tries Again for Downtown Parks

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, May 04, 2011, at 09:38AM
Prop 84 Park Projects Deborah Murphy Urban Design + Planning

CRA-backed Prop 84 park projects from round one: (L-R) Budokan Little Tokyo, Olympic & Grand and Ord & Yale. Only the Ord & Yale project was funded in this week's grant announcement.

Downtown saw a flurry of park talk at the beginning of 2010 as projects got their ducks in a row to try and apply for $184 million in funds available through the state's Proposition 84 grant program. Leading the charge was the Community Redevelopment Agency, which hustled to put together the community meetings that would play an important role in project scoring.

Of the five Downtown projects submitted by the agency, only one was successful—a $5 million grant for a new park at Ord and Yale in Chinatown.

The agency wants to try again for round two of the grant program, and Thursday will ask its board for approval to submit nine projects under the park development program and six under a green space program.

Four of those are Downtown, three under parks and one under the green space program.

Only one is a repeat of a round one submission. The CRA will again seek $5 million to build a garden on top of the Budokan of Los Angeles, a recreation center to be built by the Little Tokyo Service Center on Los Angeles Street between 1st and 2nd.

New park projects are proposed for the Arts and Fashion Districts.

In the Arts District, 0.5 acres of DWP-owned land next to Urth Caffe would be turned into a small green space for $5 million, of which the agency would like to get $1.5 million from the state.

The Fashion District project would take either a 0.73-acre parking lot owned by DWP or a 2-acre piece of the City Markets site at San Pedro and Olympic to create what would be the district's first park. CRA is seeking $5 million for the project.

The green space application would implement "green street" elements around the Evans Adult School at Figueroa and Cesar Chavez. That project is projected at $2 million, which CRA would like to get entirely from the state.

While it isn't clear whether this played into the proposed applications, the release of new Census data between round one and round two of the grant program has changed how some earlier projects would score if they were resubmitted. The area around the proposed linear park on Grand Avenue next to FIDM was shown as having a median household income of $22,830 by the round one tool, with 32 percent of residents below the poverty line. The round two tool uses updated data to give a median income of $24,997, with only 27 percent of residents below the poverty line.

Round two applications are due to the state by July 1. Over $1.6 billion worth of requests were submitted statewide for round one.

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