February 28, 2024

Board of Supervisors Greenlights Expansion of Shared Use of LAUSD Campus

The agreement revives innovative “School by day, park on nights and weekends” model in dense Southeast LA community

Hahn’s motion opens the door to Parks programming in the school’s playground and multi-use field (in yellow)

Walnut Park, CA – Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Janice Hahn that opens the door to continued and expanded shared use by the County of a Los Angeles Unified School District campus in Southeast LA. The Walnut Park Elementary School campus already hosts a nature park operated by the County’s Department of Parks and Recreation on evenings and weekends. Yesterday’s motion authorizes the Department to initiate a new agreement with LAUSD that would extend the agreement for use of the nature park for ten years and also expand it to include the school’s playground and multi-use field.

“Like so many of our other dense urban communities, Walnut Park has nowhere else to build a space for sports and recreation, so we have to get creative. On evenings and weekends, this huge site in the heart of Walnut Park is locked up out of reach for families who have few other open spaces to turn to,” said Hahn. “We are ready to deliver sports and events to our residents here as soon as this agreement is finalized.”

Once the agreement is approved by LAUSD, the County plans to establish sports programs on the site within the coming months. The community, among the ten most densely-populated in LA County, currently has no sports facilities. In December, Hahn inaugurated the community’s first full-time County park, Nogales Park, a half-acre site a few blocks away.

Despite the community’s name, its park space is significantly lower than the countywide average.

“Thanks to Supervisor Hahn’s leadership, the Walnut Park community will continue to enjoy Walnut Nature Park for years to come,” said Norma E. García-González, Director of the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation. “Walnut Nature Park provides critical greenspace and access to nature in one of the most park-poor communities in the County of Los Angeles. Walnut Nature Park will offer free after-school programming, community special events and cultural celebrations, youth and adult fitness and sports programming that includes basketball and soccer. Parks do make life better in Walnut Park.”

Los Angeles County and LAUSD first entered into an agreement to share the school site in the late 1990s, when a first-of-its-kind Joint Use Agreement (JUA) was signed. This JUA was the first for LAUSD and has been a model and template for future JUAs. In 2001, then-Supervisor Gloria Molina inaugurated the new park. The Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education must now also vote to approve the new agreement.

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