#WeAllNeedParks: LA County Voters will get a Chance to Create Sustainable Funding for Parks

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 5, 2016                                                                                                

CONTACT: Katie Martel, (213) 309-8628 or kmartel@bos.lacounty.gov

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted in support of a motion, co-authored by Chair Hilda L. Solis and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, to place a parks funding measure on the November general election ballot. The proposed measure will replace the current funding proposition set to expire soon.

“I am delighted that the Board passed the motion today to give voters an opportunity to create much-needed funding for our treasured parks and open space,” said Chair Solis. “Through the County’s research, community meetings, and polling, we have heard loud and clear that the residents of LA County value their parks and are willing to invest in creating and maintaining these spaces.”

Today’s motion directed that the “Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks, Open Space, Local Beaches, Rivers, and Water Conservation Protection Measure” be placed onto the November 8, 2016 ballot authorizing an annual parcel tax of consisting of one and a half cents per square foot of structural improvements on all taxable properties in the County of Los Angeles.

“This measure to fund open, green, recreational space in all our neighborhoods really ‘hits it out of the park’ with enormous benefits to all our communities. Parks make our neighborhoods healthier and more livable. They provide safe havens for children to play and help combat obesity. All of those reasons make me very proud to co-author this important motion to increase park and open space in the County.” said Supervisor Sheila Kuehl.

The need for a new a sustainable funding mechanism for parks became apparent after the County undertook an historic Park Needs Assessment, which evaluated the state of 1,602 local parks in 88 cities through 178 community workshops and exhaustive research. It found that $21.5 billion is needed for prioritized projects and deferred maintenance in parks and recreation facilities throughout the County.

“The Parks Needs Assessment challenged all of us to step up and provide the best real time information about the state of our parks in Los Angeles County. It is unacceptable that over half of the population in LA County do not have access to a local park in their neighborhood,” said Solis. “In my district alone, I learned that the San Gabriel Valley has the least amount of pools, the least amount of open space, trails and recreation facilities out of any other district.”

The proposed funding measure will include categories to create grants and fund projects equitably while addressing the “high need” areas as priority. In addition, Solis worked hard to make sure the local return component of the measure met the needs of cities throughout the County.

“We heard from many cities within LA County that they wanted additional return of funds to cities and unincorporated areas,” said Solis. “We listened to this concern, and the department made changes to increase from 27% local return to 35% local return.”