WHAT: A community celebration of Heal the Bay’s latest greening project – the construction of the WAYS Literacy and Fitness Park in South L.A. Working with community organizers and local architects, Heal the Bay has empowered residents to reclaim a desolate, block-long concrete traffic median and transform it into a pocket park that incorporates cutting-edge water recycling and other best practices for environmental sustainability.
Boosted by a $1.3 million grant from California State Parks, the adjacent K-5 Wisdom Academy for Young Scientists charter school and other community members will mark the first phase of construction by ceremonially tearing up asphalt, planting native species, painting a winding “history” path and engaging in a short exercise program.
WHY: Inner city neighborhoods desperately lack open space for recreational, therapeutic and environmental health. Heal the Bay’s just launched Healthy Neighborhoods, Healthy Environment initiative works with local stakeholders to secure funding and expertise to convert blighted streets into green spaces. By tackling sources of polluted runoff at its source and creating a lattice of mini-parks, the program hopes to beautify neglected neighborhoods while also keeping harmful pollutants and trash out of local beaches and seas.
WHO: Project champion and L.A. City Councilmember Jan Perry; architect Steve Cancian; Heal the Bay president Mark Gold and Wisdom Academy founder Kendra Okonkwo will host an open house for the surrounding neighborhood .
VISUALS: Ceremonial breaking of concrete hardscape; children planting seedlings that will later be transplanted to final park; community dance and exercise session; reading lessons and painting sections of a park path chronicling achievements of African American and Latino scientists.