Investing in Place is interested in the processes that prioritize how public funds are spent – particularly how the project lists develop based on data, and how they address social equity, public health and public participation. So when we recently saw a presentation on how the County of Los Angeles is conducting a financial needs assessment on parks and recreation to consider for a potential ballot measure – we immediately wondered – how can this effort inspire transportation project list and prioritization efforts?
The County of Los Angeles is initiating a Countywide assessment of the funding needs for parks and recreation in cities and unincorporated areas throughout the region. The Park Needs Assessment is being used as a guide for potential development of future funding mechanisms – the County is considering a parks ballot measure for November 2016. And these results are also intended to be used to leverage Federal and State resources, and guide local funding decisions. This is a different measure than the transportation sales tax ballot measure Metro is considering, but offers valuable insight for how the County of Los Angeles is seeking input on project selection and conducting robust stakeholder involvement in this process.
The goal of the Park Needs Assessment is to engage all communities within the County in a collaborative process to gather data and input for future decision-making on parks and recreation.
The effort is led by a steering committee:
- Staff, community-based organizations and community at large from each Supervisorial District
- Council of Government (COG)
- The cities that are not represented by a COG
- County Department of Parks and Recreation
- County Department of Public Health
And has a Project tasks such as:
- Define Study Areas
- Inventory of Existing Recreational Assets and Existing Infrastructure Needs
- Existing Conditions Analysis and Baseline Establishment
- Land Inventory and Opportunity Analysis
- Community Engagement
- Project Prioritization
- Summary Report
The Park Needs Assessment aims to increase understanding of existing park and recreation assets, funding needs, and determine how to improve, expand, and make them more accessible. Specifically, the final report will determine study areas and will identify, prioritize, and outline costs for potential park projects. For more information see their website: http://lacountyparkneeds.org/