On Friday, April 30, the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District (RPOSD) launched the 2021 competitive grant programs totaling $33.4 million for park development across Los Angeles County. Funded by Measure A, the programs are open for online applications by eligible park development entities from April 30 to October 28 at 10:00 a.m. Virtual workshops for the competitive grant programs will be held on May 12 and June 9.
In 2016, LA County voters passed the Los Angeles County Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches Measure (Measure A) by 74.9%. The annual parcel tax, which taxes real property in the County at a rate of 1.6 cents per square of development, generates approximately $95 million in revenue every year. The passage of Measure A affirmed the importance of parks to Los Angeles County residents, and over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted not only the value of parks but the disparities in access to green spaces.
“Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District’s grants program will empower communities and local organizations to pursue innovative projects that will increase access to green spaces in park poor communities,” shared Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair, Hilda L. Solis, Supervisor to the First District. “With this funding, we can work to address park inequities to ensure that all residents have access to recreational spaces that allow them to live, learn and play.”
“The LA County Regional Park and Open Space District’s Competitive Grant Programs helps make the goal of Measure A funding a reality by equipping communities with the resources to protect their environment and bring green spaces into their neighborhoods,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, Second District. “Access to quality parks and recreational facilities are essential for an equitable, healthy, and vibrant LA County.”
“I encourage every city, non-profit, community organization, and school to take advantage of this great opportunity to create community parks,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, Third District. “I know that all County residents want more green space in their communities. This funding gives community groups a chance to imagine the kind of green space that would make the biggest difference in the health and well-being of local residents and to apply for the money to make it real.”
“The pandemic reminded us how important our parks are to all of us and how much we took them for granted,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn, Fourth District. “This new grant program is a way that community organizations can have a hand at expanding and improving our County’s parks and make sure all of our neighborhoods have access to beautiful, quality open space.”
“The Fifth District is known for its beautiful open space and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Barger, Fifth District. “Whether someone lives in a rural region or a more densely-populated area, our Board of Supervisors is committed to providing fair and convenient access to these resources for all our residents to enhance both physical health and mental health.”
“During this pandemic, parks, trails and open spaces provided county residents with respite, physical and emotional well-being. Thanks to the leadership of the Board of Supervisors and the overwhelming support of the voters of Los Angeles County, Measure A funding will invest in creating equitable access to parks, trails and open spaces ” said Norma Edith García-González, Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District. “We urge community-based organizations, cities, park agencies and all eligible to apply for this critical park funding opportunity and attend one of the upcoming information workshops.
The Measure A competitive grants programs provide funding to cities, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations and other eligible entities. A minimum of 30% of competitive grant funding will be allocated to high and very high park need communities, as identified in the Los Angeles Countywide Park and Recreation Needs Assessment in the following categories:
- Natural Lands, Local Beaches, Water Conservation and Protection, for projects that improve and protect open space, watersheds, and water resources through planning, acquisition, development, improvement, and restoration of multi-benefit parks;
- Regional Recreation Facilities, Multi-Use Trails, and Accessibility, for acquisition, development, improvement, restoration, or rehabilitation projects that improve and protect regional recreational facilities, trails, and accessibility; and
- Parkland Acquisition, for acquisition-only projects that meet the goals of the Natural Lands, Local Beaches, Water Conservation and Protection Competitive Grants Program or the Regional Recreation, Multi-use Trails and Accessibility Competitive Grant Programs. This program prioritizes urgent acquisitions in Study Areas with High or Very High Park Need as well as trail connections and access, wildlife corridors, and critical habitat.
The 2021 launch marks the first competitive grant programs cycle for RPOSD. Measure A, informed by the 2016 Los Angeles Countywide Park and Recreation Needs Assessment, includes several elements geared toward funding parks in areas identified as high or very high park need. Additionally, the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) provides a category of annual funding exclusive to high and very high need study areas.
RPOSD developed TAP to curate professional consultant services for communities with the highest need for parks and open space in Los Angeles County. TAP will provide up to $1 million in funding to assist communities with the highest park need to develop park projects and write successful applications for the Measure A competitive grants programs. Parkland development consultants can apply to become Qualified Vendors to provide services for TAP eligible entities through an ongoing solicitation which opened February 16.
Since the passage of Measure A, RPOSD has allocated $208.9 million to cities and park development agencies to help fund new park space, create better access to existing parks, and improve park amenities. These funds also support community jobs across the region, including programs designed for youth and veterans.
For more information on the competitive grant programs and Measure A funding, visit the RPOSD website at https://rposd.lacounty.gov.