The Los Angeles City Council voted today to approve a plan for restoring City Hall Park that would reduce turf by half, replacing it with more environmentally friendly plants.
The plan was at least a partial victory for environmentalists and neighborhood council activists, including the Mar Vista Community Council’s Green Committee which
Sherri Akers, MVCC Green Comittee co-chair said of the decision, “Is it perfect? No. But it is a huge improvement over their original plans which were to lay down sod.”
Activists had pressured the city to make the design process more open to the public. In response the city posted three redesign options online and invited residents to comment and submit their preferences. The plans ranged from Option #1, with the most turf restored, to Option #3 with the most natives and least turf areas.
Said Akers, “I think we accomplished a lot. They have made a commitment to organic gardening and to capturing the water on the property rather than letting it run off. There is still grass, but a lot less. There will be a high usage of native and all drought tolerant plants. For many Los Angeles citizens it will be an introduction to sustainability – a modified one but still a start."
The City Council’s Recreation and Parks Committee recommend Option #2 to the Council, which approved their recommendation. This option includes a 51% reduction in turf, decomposed granite path, planting areas with drought tolerant plants, a permeable paved walkway, reseeding of the lawn areas in the Upper and Lower South Lawn with low water use hybrid turf/grass, addition of new low water use planting areas to the Upper South Lawn at the central plaza area.
The city estimates the plan will cost $390,000 in capital expenses, and $135,000 annually to maintain, according to Council Member Rosedahl's spokesperson, Tony Arranaga. Council Member Rosendahl, who represents Mar Vista, voted with the majority to support the plan.
While Akers and other activists, would have preferred a solution with no turf and more native plants, she is not disappointed in the result. “It was thrilling to see how actively the community supported this issue and that our civic leaders listened and that Recreation and Parks responded,” she said. Akers added, “This is really a wonderful example of the role that the Neighborhood Councils play in our city government.”