Councilmember Huizar negotiated with USC to vacate plans to build street through Hazard Park and commit to more than $1 million in park improvements as part of their plan to expand the USC Health Sciences Medical Campus in Boyle Heights – Halloween event to highlight additions
In a major victory for Ramona Gardens and the Hazard Park community, a new jogging path and outdoor exercise equipment zones opened Saturday at Hazard Park in Boyle Heights as part of $1 million in park improvements negotiated by Councilmember José Huizar with the University of Southern California. Saturday’s event occured in tandem with a Halloween event with kid’s costume parade, carnival-like games, face painting, and a jumper.
Huizar will join with community members and activists, USC officials, and City partners, Los Angeles Recreation and Parks, and the L.A. Parks Foundation to celebrate the trails opening, as well as the debut of outdoor exercise equipment. Other park improvements in the $1 million – which was executed as part of USC’s expansion of its nearby Health Sciences Medical Campus – include an upgraded outdoor basketball and tennis courts (completed), and a new toddler playground that will open soon. USC’s donation also includes $50,000 to assist with children’s sports programming at the park.
USC initially sought to build a street through the park to connect their new campus to Soto Street east of the park on a right-of-way that USC owned. After hearing concerns from the community and Councilmember Huizar, USC canceled those plans and has given rights to a park parcel they own to Recreation and Parks and are constructing the street on adjacent land they own just north of the park – that land is valued at $1.5 million, making the university’s total cash and in-kind donation to the park $2.6 million.
The agreement also includes securing additional parking for park visitors at a proposed USC parking lot, as well as $100,000 to be used later if necessary for traffic mitigation.