On Saturaday, February 21, a long anticipated park on the corner of Avenue 50 and York Boulevard, currently under construction, will finally open. The day will be celebrated with a ribbon cutting and a street fair as the most ambitious part of the York Boulevard Vision Plan, a comprehensive and community-driven plan for improvements along the boulevard, comes to life. However, as we count down the days to what is now an inevitability, it is important to remember that four years ago the park was just an idea and its location an empty, privately-owned lot.
The concept of a park on York Boulevard was first conceived in 2011 during Councilmember Huizar’s outreach and planning process for the York Boulevard Vision Plan. Unlike most ideas put forward during the planning process that were estimated in the thousands of dollars, a park (if built) on one of the street’s most prominent corners would exceed a million dollars in cost. Ultimately, the park made it into the Vision Plan because after more than a dozen public meetings it was consistently the most popular idea.
Once the outreach process concluded, Council District 14 quickly collaborated with the Recreation and Parks Department to pursue funding through the State’s competitive Proposition 84 grant application process in late 2011. The city received notification in March 2012 that the York Boulevard park had been among few projects in the state awarded funding. Then, approximately a year later, in 2013 the park came one step closer to reality as the city finally purchased the vacant lot needed for the park to happen at all.
Construction started in mid-2014 after another round of community outreach to identify what design elements would be included in the park’s layout. Now, after years of hard work, the neighborhood is set to see the park fill what has long been an unsightly gap along an otherwise charming community main street.
Below are photos the park in its current construction phase, it is coming along rather nicely!
For additional views within the park, and information on the background on the project (the location used to be a gas station!), head over to KCRW.