What you need to know about the funding Alhambra has to build more parks

Photo by flickr user Ricky Li licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Location

Alhambra , CA United States

The average amount of park space per 1,000 Los Angeles County residents is 3.3 acres, according to a 2016 park needs assessment.

While South Pasadena averages 3.1 acres per 1,000 people and Monterey Park averages 2 acres, Alhambra only averages 0.9 acres per 1,000 people.

That is all about to change, with funding from Measure A. Passed in 2016, Measure A is a countywide parcel tax that will raise $96 million a year to fund parks in L.A. County. Money is allocated to cities based on need. Alhambra will get almost $470,000 for parks and more than $64,000 for maintenance.

Around 27 Alhambra residents learned more about Measure A at a meeting at Almansor Gym, organized by API Forward Movement, which promotes environmental projects in the San Gabriel Valley and downtown Los Angeles and Nature for All, another environmental non-profit. Representatives from the City of Alhambra, Monterey Park, San Gabriel, San Marino, South Pasadena and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation attended.

Cities can also apply for grants of $50,000 to $3.7 million, said Scott Chan, the executive director of API Forward Movement. He mentioned grant funds for projects related to youth and veteran training, as well as making parks more accessible to residents who don’t live within walking distance of them.

One resident asked how Alhambra would find more open space when the city was already well developed.

Alhambra Mayor Jeff Maloney, who attended the meeting, said that the solution would have to be a creative one and suggested negotiating with the Alhambra Unified School District to open up some of their unused property to public access as an example. “It’s wide open right now, so we’re happy to hear any ideas you have right now,” he said. Chan also mentioned Measure A funding set aside for acquiring vacant lots to turn into pocket parks.

Attendees were invited to fill out a L.A. County park user survey and were also encouraged to share input with the City of Alhambra. “I hope Alhambra uses resources to make sure neighbors are informed about their nearby parks,” said resident Kristopher Fortin.

An individual filed a lawsuit against Measure A’s method of using a parcel tax to generate money. In the event that said individual wins, cities may have to give back any money they spend.

However, L.A. County is confident that won’t happen and has started allocating funding. Cities can start their projects as soon as this fall.

Residents who want to give input on what Alhambra should do with their Measure A parks funding should contact Chris Paulson, director of parks and recreation at 626-570-5044 or parksandrec@cityofalhambra.org.

Dominic Tovar contributed reporting.

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