By Sue Favor
SOUTH LOS ANGELES — Construction will begin soon on a new park in the Green Meadows neighborhood that will not only bring much-needed green space to the area, but improve water supply and quality, as well.
A crowd showed up at the site, at 87th Street and McKinley Avenue Oct. 16 to celebrate Inell Woods Park, slated to be complete in early 2022. The effort is a collaboration between 9th District City Councilman Curren Price’s office, Heal the Bay, California State Parks and North East Trees.
The park will be located on a median in the residential area and will feature greenways, a walking track, a playground area, exercise equipment, native plant gardens and picnic areas. Stormwater will be collected from nearby drains and will be used to irrigate the park, saving money and preventing waste.
“Green space is at a premium in our district, and this space has been just neglected for years,” Price said at the event, which attracted a few hundred people. “So we’re excited to be in collaboration with Heal the Bay, creating a real unique pocket park that’s going to provide recreation and open space, green space for our community.”
Two years ago, Mayor Eric Garcetti signed the Green New Deal, designed to put more trees and parks in the city’s most vulnerable areas, including South L.A. Studies have shown that less wealthy areas, and those where people of color live, have less green space and trees. As a result, those communities are several degrees hotter than other areas, which some have termed “urban heat islands.”
The COVID-19 pandemic slowed the city’s effort to plant 90,000 trees by the end of last year, and delayed the planning and construction of new parks. But over the summer Price — whose district has the least amount of park space — has overseen several groundbreaking ceremonies for new green areas.
Woods was a tireless local community activist who lived across the street from the park site. Price said it was fitting that it would carry her name.
“I am honored to name our newest park Inell Woods, in honor of a community champion who spent her life advocating for fairness, inclusion and ensuring the South L.A. community was supported,” Price said. “This park is the community’s gift to Mrs. Woods, and the tremendous legacy she has left behind.”
The open house featured a Halloween costume contest, pumpkin painting food and treats. Residents filled out surveys to provide feedback on what they would like to see at the park.
“That’s the kind of community that’s so important, and that’s the kind of community involvement that we have here in the new Ninth,” Price said.
Sue Favor is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers, who covers South Los Angeles. She can be reached at email@example.com.