The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy opened the new Vista Hermosa Park in downtown Los Angeles on July 19, 2008. Vista Hermosa is the first park built in downtown Los Angeles in over 100 years and is an excellent example of a joint use site. The Park was developed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) in a joint use partnership with LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles. The park features trails, streams, meadows, oak savannahs, picnic areas, art elements, an environmentally-themed children’s adventure area, a 120-student capacity outdoor amphitheater, and a soccer field.
The park will also provide a gateway to Santa Monica Mountain parklands for youth and their families with the free monthly “Transit to Trails” program to take children and their families and friends on fun, educational, and healthy mountain, river, and beach trips. Transit to Trails, a successful pilot project between MRCA, Anahuak Youth Association, and The City Project, is discussed below.
Vista Hermosa Park is located in Assembly District 45 (DeLeon). There are 2.03 net acres of parks per thousand residents, compared to 282.79 in Assembly District 37 (Strickland). There are a total of 426,127 people living in District 45. 28.6% are children (121,879). More than one child out of every three (36.3%) suffers from obesity.
The people are disproportionately Latino and poor compared to the City, County, and State. More than 90% of the neighborhood children are Latino, and 89% of families are enrolled in the free and reduced federal lunch programs in school.
The LAUSD school board voted to abandon and sell the site — formerly known as the site for the new Belmont High School — in 2000. Keeping hope alive, the LAUSD Citizens’ School Bond Oversight Committee, then chaired by The City Project’s Robert Garcia, required LAUSD to study whether the site could be made safe for a school, how much it would cost, and how long it would take. In 2004, the Committee voted in favor of completing the school and creating Vista Hermosa Park.
See images of the Vista Hermosa grand opening on flickr.