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City Turning 10 Foreclosed Properties into Pocket Parks

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The Daily News reports that Los Angeles is launching a large-scale effort to turn foreclosed properties into neighborhood pocket parks--part of a plan announced last week to bring 50 pocket parks to the city. Although details are still forthcoming on most of the 50 parks included in the plan, the Department of Recreation and Parks says that ten foreclosure sites are slated to become pocket parks, and the city is looking to to buy vacant lots to turn into parks too. Work has already started on a 6,000 square foot foreclosure property on Kagel Canyon Street in Pacoima--the city bought it froms Wells Fargo last year for $116,000 and plans to put up fitness equipment, build a walkway, and plant native plants in response to neighbor suggestions. The paper says that "The department wants to tailor each park to the community desires, so staffers gave neighbors questionnaires on what amenities they'd like to have."

The ten proposed sites grew out of the 2009 federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program, which helped cities buy and redevelop foreclosed houses. Some of the houses the LA Housing Department bought were beyond repair, so officials suggested donating them to the parks department. Nine of the proposed parks came out of the program; a bank donated the tenth site.

According to the LADN, "Excluding site acquisitions, the parks will cost $250,000 to $700,000 to develop. The money will come from developer-paid funds, the Proposition 84 state water bond, and funding from numerous nonprofits."

Richard Green, president of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate, says that transforming foreclosed properties into pocket parks would be good for the neighborhood: "If the city can make an amenity out of a foreclosed house, they can raise the value of the surrounding houses and neighborhood."
· New city program aims to turn foreclosed home sites into parks [Daily News]
· Mayor Wants 50 New Pocket Parks [Curbed LA]