Westboun lane of the 10 Freeway as it passes Ramona Gardens (background). Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas
That community is Ramona Gardens, home to one of the city’s oldest and largest public housing developments, where residents have long suffered from the consequences of isolation and exposure to pollution coming from an adjacent freeway and industrial zone. Nonprofit Community Conservation Solutions (CCS) is proposing the creation of a Natural Park at Ramona Gardens and is seeking community input during the early planning phase.
A community workshop will be held Thursday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 pm, at the Ramona Gardens Boys and Girls Club (former gym), to allow area residents to offer their opinion and to allow CCS to identify community needs.
The community workshop is open to area residents; dinner will be served. Those wishing to attend can contact: Ruth Rodriguez (424) 355-1045 or Ruby Rivera (310) 756-5753 for more information.
‘Nature in the City’
According to an invitation to the community workshop, the nonprofit is “working closely with the Ramona Gardens community to identify needs and […] conducting technical site analysis, planning, research and landscape design to develop conceptual plans.”
In the planning phase, CCS is working with Legacy LA, the Ramona Gardens Resident Advisory Council (RAC) and the Housing Authority of Los Angeles –the city agency that manages the housing development on the Northeastern edge of Boyle Heights.
The proposed “Nature in the City” park would be created in a zone between the housing project and the 10 Freeway.
A Nature Park in Ramona Gardens would bring multiple benefits to the neighborhood, according to proponents. It would allow the community to recycle storm water, provide a green, shady area where children could play and adults could walk and exercise, and even provide a better setting for Ramona Gardens’ famed Saturday morning swap meet.
Levels of pollution
According to CCS, Ramona Gardens is one of the three most polluted communities in California. In its proposal it states that the community:
- Is designated ‘severely disadvantaged’ by the State of California
- Has high concentrations of pollutants such as ozone, particulate matter and carbon dioxide (California EPA)
- Next to 15 lanes of freeway, busway, carpool lanes and Metrolink
- Has 1,800 residents, including 700 children
- 35% of adults and 50% of teens are obese
- 27% of youth diagnosed with asthma