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Urban Parks

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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 8, 2006 | Duke Helfand, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and environmentalists urged state officials Tuesday to provide hefty funding for urban parks, clean water and other ecological needs in an upcoming state public works bond. Standing on the banks of the Los Angeles River near downtown, Villaraigosa and leaders from several environmental groups said that green space and safe waterways are as important to the state's future as new roads, adequate housing and secure levees.
ARTICLES BY DATE
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 31, 2013 | By Gale Holland
Dawn was breaking when three scruffy men in dark clothing trudged past Grand Park's bubble-gum-pink benches and into its purple-tiled bathrooms to wash up. The early-morning ablutions have become a daily ritual for homeless men at the 1-year-old park across the street from Los Angeles City Hall. But their presence has done little to dim the appeal of the $56-million, county-owned venue, as office workers, loft-dwelling professionals, curious suburbanites and, yes, the homeless flock to evening concerts, public ceremonies, fireworks shows and farmers' markets.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 1, 2000
In the past, a state parks bond issue on the ballot might trigger thoughts of misty North Coast redwoods, oceanside campgrounds, the vast desert tract of Anza Borrego, distant wildlife preserves and a historic site like Sutter's Fort in Sacramento. But this year's state bond issue, approved by voters in March, is significantly different. Of the $2.1 billion in bonds listed in Proposition 12, nearly half will go to local governments and nonprofit groups.
NEWS
February 7, 2013 | By Patt Morrison
Pity Pershing Square. It's been put through more makeovers than Joan Rivers, and the results haven't been nearly as presentable. Other cities brag about their urban parks. Ours -- except for the big glamor-pusses like Griffith Park -- we tend to try to keep tucked out of sight. Here's Pershing Square, supposedly the green heart of downtown, and the city seems to want it walled off from sight, a place kept so bare and stark that you could hose it down at night like a prison yard -- with just enough landscaping, as a Times colleague once wrote, to serve as a “cheap wig” for the parking garage below.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 23, 1987 | JOHN NEEDHAM, Times County Bureau Chief
In an effort to bring recreational facilities closer to people's homes, Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder on Monday proposed amending county regulations to give supervisors money to spend on urban parks. Wieder said county regulations require that a regional park must be at least 100 acres to qualify for funds from the county Harbors, Beaches and Parks District.
REAL ESTATE
March 19, 1989 | SAM HALL KAPLAN
Even though it opposes the police facilities bond issue that goes before Los Angeles voters next month, the Citizens' Committee to Save Elysian Park recognizes the need for modernized stations and a new and expanded Police Academy. Indeed, Echo Park and Chinatown, where most of the committee members live, and the rambling 576-acre park itself are beset by gangs, and residents welcome all the patrolmen they can get.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 1989 | ROYCE NEUSCHATZ and MARY D. NICHOLS, Royce Neuschatz teaches in the landscape architecture school at Cal Poly Pomona. She served on the Los Angeles Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners from 1977 to 1985. Mary D. Nichols is a current member of the board and an environmental lawyer. and
Los Angeles' park problems are all too familiar to residents of decaying East Coast cities: drugs and vandalism, shabby or outmoded facilities, inadequate staffing for maintenance or recreation and a growing shortage of attractive open space. Instead of a community asset that enhances nearby property values, parks are all too often a source of conflict and fear. The region's main stock of public parks has been the scene of fierce development battles in recent years, pitting environmental and open-space advocates against educational, arts and recreational interests.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 20, 2010 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Ronald P. Schafer, who as superintendent of the California state parks' Angeles District pushed to develop urban parks in the core of Los Angeles, has died. He was 53. Schafer had finished competing in a Malibu triathlon Sept. 12 and was eating with friends when he had a stroke. He died Wednesday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said his brother, Randy. In a statement, Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said Schafer did everything in life with "tremendous passion" and left behind "a legacy of park protection.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 7, 1997 | HOPE HAMASHIGE and LESLEY WRIGHT
Kids and parents who go to George Bellis Park this spring will find $40,000 worth of new playground equipment. Made of metal and heavy plastic, the new playground gear will include a suspension bridge, decks, spiral slides and other state-of-the-art kid stuff. The city had budgeted federal block grant money to pay for the new equipment, but the council was able to save those dollars when the county awarded residents a $50,000 urban parks grant.
NEWS
December 25, 1994 | ENRIQUE LAVIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Prompted by growing concerns that county and city budget cuts and other constraints are eroding urban parks, advocates are attempting to mobilize communities to take their parks' destinies into their own hands. City and county parks directors solicit volunteers to supervise youth activities. Residents scrape together sports leagues for children.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 25, 2012 | By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
For decades,the cascading strip of land in the heart of the Los Angeles Civic Center reflected a downtown where people commuted in each morning and cleared out by sunset. It was a collection of parking lots and little-used chunks of public space, hidden by the ramps of a parking garage. This week, after a $56-million renovation, that 12-acre rectangle from the top of Bunker Hill to the base of City Hall will be christened as L.A.'s Grand Park, providing downtown with its first sizable amount of open space.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 19, 2012 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles city dwellers once enjoyed a sanctuary of gnarled oaks, serene pools and exotic ferns on Griffith Park's southwestern edge. But four decades of neglect have left the 20-acre Fern Dell retreat a shabby relic of its former self, which is why a band of park lovers is now trying to restore it to its early Hollywood heyday. "Fern Dell is in pretty bad shape, but it is not too late to save it," said Bernadette Soter, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Friends of Griffith Park . The volunteer group has launched a campaign to rejuvenate the 95-year-old stream-fed garden spot, restoring its 17 footbridges, ripping out thickets of invasive ivy and bamboo, and beefing up security.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 20, 2010 | By Valerie J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
Ronald P. Schafer, who as superintendent of the California state parks' Angeles District pushed to develop urban parks in the core of Los Angeles, has died. He was 53. Schafer had finished competing in a Malibu triathlon Sept. 12 and was eating with friends when he had a stroke. He died Wednesday at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, said his brother, Randy. In a statement, Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks, said Schafer did everything in life with "tremendous passion" and left behind "a legacy of park protection.
NATIONAL
January 12, 2010 | By Kim Murphy
William Rees spent much of his childhood on his grandfather's farm in the province of Ontario. What struck him once, after a day of working in the fields, was the sudden realization that everything on the dinner table -- the chicken, the milk, the carrots -- he had helped produce. "I was only about 10 years old, and I have no explanation to this day, but I felt as if the ground had fallen beneath me. I was sinking, sinking, deep into the earth," Rees said. When he moved to Vancouver, he took that sense of "connectedness" with him, and never forgot it. With 75% of the globe's 10 billion people in 2050 expected to live in urban areas, they had better -- if they are to survive -- find a similar sense of connection, Rees figured.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 7, 2009 | By Tony Barboza
The Orange County Great Park's main attraction -- a giant helium balloon ride -- has seen more colorful days. Two years out in the sun on an old airfield in Irvine has faded the painted surface of the giant balloon from a vibrant orange to a pale peach. So the vessel is being outfitted with a bright-new envelope shipped in from France, which was inflated last week so it can once again carry visitors in a gondola 400 feet into the air. It will take a crew of 30 workers five days to replace the balloon and pump it full of helium, officials say. This time around, the city is using a dye-impregnated fabric with UV-protected pigment, which is expected to retain its radiant orange hue for at least five years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 1, 2009 | Paloma Esquivel
It's a hot, windless summer day. Ken Smith is standing in the giant, orange, tethered helium balloon that has become a symbol of everything good and bad about Orange County's planned Great Park. The sky is blue and from 400 feet up one can see the endless sprawl of homes, the ocean and rolling hills that define this suburban county. Through round, black sunglasses, Smith looks down at 1,300 acres of a closed Marine air base; 1,300 hundred acres of possibility. If all goes according to plan, Smith will transform the concrete runways and abandoned hangars beneath him into a park that some say could stand against New York's Central Park as one of the nation's great urban parks.
NATIONAL
January 12, 2010 | By Kim Murphy
William Rees spent much of his childhood on his grandfather's farm in the province of Ontario. What struck him once, after a day of working in the fields, was the sudden realization that everything on the dinner table -- the chicken, the milk, the carrots -- he had helped produce. "I was only about 10 years old, and I have no explanation to this day, but I felt as if the ground had fallen beneath me. I was sinking, sinking, deep into the earth," Rees said. When he moved to Vancouver, he took that sense of "connectedness" with him, and never forgot it. With 75% of the globe's 10 billion people in 2050 expected to live in urban areas, they had better -- if they are to survive -- find a similar sense of connection, Rees figured.
OPINION
May 11, 2007
Re "Burnt park not down for the count," May 10 Fire in chaparral, the dominant -- and native -- habitat of Griffith Park, is 100% natural. As with many urban parks, Griffith has been described as our city's "lungs" -- a big, wild place where coyote and even bobcat sightings are nothing extraordinary. It also has been the canvas onto which generations of Angelenos have imparted their personal vision for the park, from the redwoods in the bird sanctuary to the tropical gardens of the vista points.
OPINION
June 20, 2008 | Vaughan Davies, Vaughan Davies is a principal and director of urban design at the Los Angeles office of EDAW, an urban planning and design firm. EDAW organized the Big Trench charrette.
Great cities have great urban parks. Central Park in New York, Millennium Park in Chicago, Washington's Mall. They are magnets for the key ingredients that make a successful city center: housing and hotels, shops and cafes, museums and concert halls, public festivals and recreation from active sports to leisurely strolling. They provide breathing room amid the civic bustle; they open up the densest cityscapes; they signify the heart of the heart of their hometowns.
NEWS
May 6, 2008 | Sara Catania, Sara Catania lives in Silver Lake, teaches journalism at USC and blogs at seehowweare.blogstream.com
Surrounded by freeways and bombarded with billboards, we green-seeking Angelenos take pride in our nature-ish things. East L.A. has Evergreen Cemetery; West L.A. has Venice Beach; Silver Lake has its reservoir. Or had, anyway. After a rare photochemical reaction created carcinogens in the "lake," the Department of Water and Power pulled the plug, draining its entire 600,000-gallon supply. By the standards of municipal thirst, that's not very much. It wouldn't even satisfy a single day's need.
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