A longstanding proposal for a large park in East Los Angeles could take a step closer to reality.

In a consent calendar vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to authorize the Department of Parks and Recreation to apply for state grant funding for the development of a new park at 6233 Whittier Boulevard and 6254 Hubbard Street.  The 8.4-acre site is part of a Southern California Edison utility corridor, with overhead power lines strung above the property.

The currently unimproved land has been targeted as an opportunity site for new public open space for more than a decade, and was identified as part of the East Los Angeles Community Park and Recreation Plan in 2013.  In its latest bid to use the property, the Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking a 30-year licensing agreement with Southern California Edison to develop it with park space.  Its design proposal incorporates suggestions from Edison to avoid conflicts with the utility's operations, including power line maintenance.

“I am advocating on behalf of my constituents so that no child in East Los Angeles is faced with the choice of either playing on a vacant lot or on a crowded street,” said Supervisor Hilda Solis in a news release. “Our Eastside families have a human right to a well-maintained, high-quality neighborhood park, as well as the key health, social, and economic benefits that result from accessing a local green space.”

The land beneath overhead power lines has served as a convenient solution for several park-starved communities in Los Angeles County, including El Segundo and Redondo Beach.  Additional green space projects using utility corridors are planned in South Gate and Florence-Firestone.

In East Los Angeles, the site of the Southern California Edison right-of-way, the County's regional park needs assessment found that the community has just .1 acres of park space per 1,000 residents - well below the Countywide average of 3.3 acres.  Additionally, just 34 percent of East Los Angeles residents live within walking distance of a park - again below the Countywide average of 49 percent.