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Parks get poor marks for maintenance, restrooms

LOS ANGELES — A report card system for Los Angeles’ parks unveiled earlier this month by City Controller Ron Galperin gave poor scores for the maintenance and cleanliness of restrooms but better marks for playgrounds, trails and gyms.

A survey of 3,700 park users also found that cleanliness and safety concerns deter them from using the community parks more.

The report card graded 40 of the city’s 95 designated community parks via visits by reviewers from the KH Consulting Group and the RAND Corp., along with USC faculty members.

“Our parks are so important to our quality of life, providing recreational outlets for all ages, much-needed green space and venues for community-building,” Galperin said. “I hope city leaders will use my report card to drive improvements at city parks to better serve all Angelenos.”

The city manages a total of 444 parks and Galerpin noted that the Department of Recreation and Parks has added 37 parks over the last nine years while funding has shrunk by $81 million over the same period of time.

Galperin also noted that the rise in homelessness has led to maintenance challenges. The most recent Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count found that homelessness rose by 20 percent in the city in 2016.

“It is the department’s goal to ensure that the city has a clean, safe, innovative and accessible park system that serves the entire Los Angeles community,” said Michael Shull, general manager of the Department of Recreation and Parks. “We are proud of the work our staff performs daily but also acknowledge the need to continuously innovate and improve. We appreciate the collaboration with the L.A. Controller’s office and look forward to staying closely engaged with the public to share our progress and hear ideas and feedback as we move forward.”

Lemon Grove Recreation Area near Hollywood received a B-minus grade in a review of city parks by the KH Consulting Group, the RAND Corp and USC faculty members. The park received a D grade for restrooms and A grades for children play areas and picnic areas. (Courtesy photo)

Lemon Grove Recreation Area near Hollywood received a B-minus grade in a review of city parks by the KH Consulting Group, the RAND Corp and USC faculty members. The park received a D grade for restrooms and A grades for children play areas and picnic areas. (Courtesy photo)

The report card also found disparities in the quality of the parks between low-income and higher-income areas. Parks in the Westside and West San Fernando Valley fared better, while those in the East Valley and downtown, south of downtown and Eastside areas received lower grades.

Galperin advised exploring funding sources for maintenance and upgrades, including special city funds that typically have been used for new parks.

The Lemon Grove Recreation Center near Hollywood was among the 40 parks evaluated. Its overall grade was a B-minus.

The facility received A grades for children play areas, picnic and seating areas, outdoor courts and athletic fields.

It received B grades for landscaping and natural areas and exercise areas and trails, but C grades for cleanliness, drinking fountains and graffiti and a D grade for restrooms.

Pan Pacific Park near the Fairfax District received a B-plus overall grade. Its only C grade was for restrooms.

The complete report card can be found at parkgrade.la.

 

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