Like an oasis in the desert, the new 111th Place Park brings relaxation, recreation and fun to a park-poor neighborhood in South Los Angeles. The bright and colorful space, located at 207
E. 111th Place, opened April 14 to the cheers and applause of community members, school children and city officials.
Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson echoed the excitement of the crowd about the transformation of a formerly blighted property into a new park in the 8th District, the area he represents on the L.A. City Council.
“This is an amazing thing. It just shows you how you can take something that was a problem and turn it into a solution. This is a beautiful facility, a parcel that you wouldn’t think you could build a park so beautiful here,” said Harris-Dawson.
“It’s full of color, activities for young people, places for seniors to get rested or a place to just walk around and have a little bit of fun.”
The project, funded by the Proposition 84 Statewide Park Program, was a partnership of the Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI), an independent nonprofit organization, and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP). Together with the consultant team, Shared Spaces, the agencies engaged the community to develop the space.
“The LANI model is to be guided by what community members say they want to see in their neighborhood,” explained Veronica Hahni, LANI executive director.
As part of its goal to work with stakeholders to implement neighborhood-based improvement projects, LANI secured the funding for the park, conducted community outreach, and managed the project from conceptualization through construction.
“Three years ago, we were out talking to the community and everything from the rainbow theme to the benches, the community wanted to see it. They wanted a park where people of all ages could come together,” added Alain Datcher, LANI program manager and native of the 8th District.
In response to the requests of community members, the park features amenities such as a colorful playground, adult fitness equipment, fruit trees, drought-tolerant landscaping and sustainable design elements.
LANI’s Executive Director Veronica Hahni said, “We are so excited to celebrate the completion of 111th Place Park. South Los Angeles has long suffered from a historic lack of park and green space. Bringing opportunities for active recreation and engaging physical activity, this vibrant, colorful park will make a monumental difference in the lives of children in this neighborhood.”
The 111th Place Park is part of the City of Los Angeles 50 Parks Initiative, a program designed to address park disparity across the city.
“We are committed to continuing our efforts to build new parks in communities lacking green space,” said Michael A. Shull, RAP general manager.