For Maps of the Cornfield Area, visit WCVI's Community Development Section

Thursday, July 14, 2005 - Statement

Alliance Raises $1,000,000 for Los Angeles State Historic Park (Cornfield) and Announces Community Gains

A diverse alliance including the Anahuak Youth Soccer Association, the Center for Law in the Public Interest, Madres de la Tierra, Remapping-LA and the William C. Velasquez Institute, are proud to announce that they have raised $1,000,000 to enhance development, understanding, and enjoyment of the Los Angeles State Historic Park and surrounding historical, cultural, recreational, and environmental assets. The funds will be used to promote community participation in the planning process of the park, underwrite additional park development, and create interpretive elements at the Park and surrounding sites.

The alliance has also secured access to a historic warehouse building across the street from the Park to be used for programs, exhibitions, and events. These activities will help provide a comprehensive understanding of the rich history of the people and place around the Park, and stimulating dialogue about the future of the communities along the Los Angeles River .

Community Gains Access to Open Grassy Space, Grants for Local Organizations, and “Not a Cornfield” Plans.

The Annenberg Foundation and Lauren Bon have modified the Not a Cornfield project at the Los Angeles State Historic Park (Cornfield) to include 4-6 acres of open green space, $200,000 in grants for enhancing community participation in planning the future of the Park, and release of final detailed plans for the project. These changes to the Not a Cornfield project were the result of dialogue between Ms. Bon, the Annenberg Foundation, the California Department of Parks and Recreation, and the alliance.

As the result of years of community activism, the State of California purchased the 32 acre parcel known as the “Cornfield” rail yards in north-downtown Los Angeles to create an urban state park. The Legislature also established the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee to assist State Parks to plan for interim and permanent land uses and facilities for the Park site. Concerns of the public arose when State Parks issued a permit in April 2005 to Ms. Bon and the Annenberg Foundation to allow the use of the Park site for the Not a Cornfield project without adequate community participation.

Community leaders raised questions regarding the approved permit in light of the final recommendations of the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee. The alliance also expressed concerns regarding the process and content of the Not a Cornfield project.

The alliance engaged in an extensive series of dialogues with Ms. Bon, the Annenberg Foundation, and State Parks that resulted in:

  1. Development of two parcels totaling 4-6 acres of temporary park space to provide “large, flat, open, grassy spaces” for children to play and open space for the community, now through October 2005. The open, grassy spaces will provide a needed respite for the surrounding park-poor communities.
  2. Final plans and documentation for the Not a Cornfield project to be released by Ms. Bon at an open studio meeting at the Park on Thursday evening, July 14, 2005 .
  3. Ongoing investment for community participation in planning for the Los Angeles State Historic Park . Ms. Bon, in her capacity as a trustee of the Annenberg Foundation, will provide a fund of $200,000 to assist in facilitating the conversation between State Parks and community stakeholders about the long-term vision and plan for the Park.

The alliance will continue to work with Ms. Bon, the Foundation, and State Parks to ensure that (1) the Not a Cornfield project is consistent with the adopted plan and the recommendations of the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee, and (2) community members have the opportunity to enjoy freedom of expression at the Park.

The Anahuak Youth Soccer Association represents over 1,500 children and their families and friends. Anahuak builds athletics, academics and leadership in inner city youth through green fields and soccer teams. Anahuak has been instrumental in creating the vision and plans for El Río de Los Angeles State Park at Taylor Yard, and the Los Angeles State Historic Park at the Cornfield. Anahuak is diversifying democracy from the ground up to seek equal justice and livability for all.

The Centerfor Law in the Public Interest is implementing a collective vision for the Los Angeles region: a comprehensive and coherent web of parks, schools, beaches, forests, and transportation that promotes human health and economic vitality, and reflects the diverse cultural urban landscape. The Center hasextensively published research and findings on urban parks and their benefits for the people along the Los Angeles River , and has contributed to the greening of the River through its work on the state parks at the Cornfield and Taylor Yard. The Center’s work on The Cornfield and the Flow of History: People, Place, and Culture, Public Art in the Public Park , and the Heritage Parkscape have articulated the values at stake for the region in the short and long term.

Mujeres de la Tierra has helped organize support for equal justice, democracy, and livability in the communities surrounding the Los Angeles State Historic Park , El Río de Los Angeles State Park , and along the Los Angeles River .

Remapping-LA is a project of the REMAP Center at UCLA (Center for Research in Engineering, Media, And Performance). REMAP was created by the School of Theater , Film and Television and the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA. The Center aims to interweave artistic creativity with engineering invention, engaging significant issues of culture, community, and communication through research, production and education. REMAP aspires to make contributions that enable a diverse, inclusive and community empowering technological cultural environment.

The William C. Velasquez Institute is a national Latino-focused policy and research organization with offices in Lincoln Heights that has been instrumental in building support for the Los Angeles State Historic Park among the Latino community and political leadership. WCVI, through its Community Development Strategies program, provides its 30,000-member network of community leaders and elected officials with data, analysis, and alternative strategies to help resolve longstanding socioeconomic challenges and problems.

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