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Villaraigosa wants a more livable L.A., with 50 pocket parks

November 16, 2011 |  6:51 pm

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times In a speech to lay out his record and his vision on making Los Angeles a more livable city, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced Wednesday that he wants to build 50 pocket parks in the next two years.

Villaraigosa, who grew up in City Terrace and recalls playing on hills that are now industrial areas, highlighted the dearth of parks in Los Angeles. He noted that his administration has added 650 acres of new ball fields, picnic areas and playgrounds in six years, more than in the previous dozen years.

But the mayor said city workers have been scouring Los Angeles to find locations to create small parks, especially in some of the most densely populated neighborhoods.

He made his remarks at UCLA in an address to the Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit, which was sponsored by the Los Angeles Business Council.

Sarah Sheahan, a deputy mayor, said the official announcement would come in March, but that construction on several parks in South Los Angeles would begin next month. The parks will range from 5,000 square feet to 20,000 square feet. Sheahan said that the mayor’s office expects to have identified the sites by March, but may not have found all the money needed to build them.

The mayor also said that he was working with Anschutz Entertainment Group to ensure that its proposed Farmers Field professional football stadium in downtown is surrounded by parks and green space.

Among other initiatives, he mentioned that City Hall officials would soon release seven new community plans, promising that they will be state-of-the-art land-use documents. They are also working with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to plan transit-friendly development along the Exposition and Crenshaw lines.


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-- John Hoeffel at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times