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Not Everyone is Waiting for York Boulevard Park to Be Completed

This photo shows that though the park isn't open to the public, some are already staking claim to the territory.

Negotiations are still ongoing between the City of Los Angeles and the owner of the vacant lot at the corner of York Boulevard and Avenue 50. 

The city has secured state funds to purchase the lot and transform it into a public park, though represenatives for Councilman Jose Huizar's office have told Patch that the lot's owner is driving a hard bargain. 

In the meantime, though, it appears that at least one member of the community is no longer willing to wait for the deal to go through. 

clvngodess September 29, 2012 at 02:00 PM
And by chemicals, we are talking carcinogens.
Rob Hanson September 29, 2012 at 02:06 PM
The lot's value three years ago was considerably less than it is right now in this hot real estate market. The owner has a point. I agree with Gil, as a negotiating strategy publishing your many plans for a property you don't own certainly gives the owner the strategic advantage in negotiations.
Robert A. Nava September 29, 2012 at 03:35 PM
There are many ways to address the contaminated site. Soil samples must be analyzed and recommendations will be made by scientists. There are strict requirements when dealing with a toxic site in Los Angeles. Due to the size of the site, I see a few options of remediation. 1. Excavation-excavate the contaminated soil and fill with new soil. This option will be pretty expensive and more than likely will not happen. 2. Bioremediation-introduce natural organism to digest and break down the chemical contaminants. This process requires an extensive amount of time making it less likely to happen. 3. Phytoremediation-introduction of certain plants which absorb and break town toxic chemicals thus remediation the soil. This process also takes time, can take years to remediate a site, which I'm not sure the city/community is willing to wait. 4. Containment- Cap the soil and contain the contaminates. This can be done in several ways. There are barriers which can be placed several feet beneath the surface of the soil to contain toxins and new fill can be placed above. Also concrete can be used along with barriers for containment. These are a few options. But, a report must be done and recommendations have to be made based on the specific site conditions.
Robert A. Nava September 29, 2012 at 03:42 PM
I'm not sure where the city/owner are in the negotiating process, but maybe preliminary soil samples have been made and the City could use the results as a bargaining chip. I think I remember hearing they know for sure the site soil is contaminated. If they haven't, it would be a good idea to perform soil samples on a suspected toxic site and do cost estimates for remediation.
Jason September 29, 2012 at 05:17 PM
You guys should read the earlier article that is referenced (and linked to) in this one. Regarding the environmental concerns: "Among the issues that allowed the lot to stand empty for long were concerns over its previous use as a gas station. A notice of closure issued by the California Environmental Protection Agency in February of 2011 states that, despite trace elements of gasoline remaining in the soil, the empty lot does not pose a threat to the public. The report states that all four underground storage tanks at the former site of Steve's gas station were removed in 1999 and that 4,607 tons of soil were extracted from beneath the location of the pump islands in 2001. In 2009, another 103 tons of soil were removed from the site. Though traces of the toxic compound methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) remains in the soil at 82 micograms-per-liter, those levels are only unsafe if consumed."
bobo September 29, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Bad idea from the start. There are plenty of park spaces in Highland Park that are always empty, no kids playing, no people even there at all. There are also parks in Eagle Rock which are near by York. How about using money for better lighting, street repair...
Punk Attitude September 30, 2012 at 01:40 AM
I woud walk away from this project with an environmental report in hand. Let's just circulate this is a piece of trash spot, it's contaminated, and then see if the owner begs someone to buy it. I agree with Bobo that the money for this project should go to better lighting, fixing streets, pruning trees that uproot sidewalks. There's better for places for a park. Besides all that nonsense only betters Avenue 50 when the love needs to go more toward Aldama and York so other businesses better that part of York.
Punk Attitude September 30, 2012 at 01:42 AM
Sorry for typo... benefit from that part of York not better.
Janet Alvarado Dodson September 30, 2012 at 02:28 AM
I am unendingly amazed by how much fiction gets loose in Highland Park. (Not you, thank you, Jason, and please do not eat the dirt.) The remediation process for this lot is well documented since 1985 The 49 page California EPA study is publically available. (LUSTIS File No 900420016) It includes a history of the studies over the decades, statistics, and an alphabet of substances studied, including MTBEs, countless wells, permanent monitors installed, and test borings. The soil has been completely replaced at least twice. The City could not have applied for the highly competitive State grant to buy the park without the 2011 State EPA Notice of Closure. Do you really think you are the first person to think about the pollution on this lot? Wow. The public was heavily notified about the availability and our eligibility for this grant. There were many publically noticed meetings to discuss the form of the park in order to fulfill the application process for the grant. We won the grant, partly because we do not have many parks, And how exactly could the City negotiate a price for the land before the grant was granted? This was a grant for a park, not street repair, better lighting, or sidewalk repair. Few things improve the character and therefore the economics of a community than a park. I think we might call it Gorilla Park.
El Cid September 30, 2012 at 05:22 AM
Well said, "Janet!" You go girl!!!
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM
I think I go along with Punk Attitude, & the majority of others here who have expressed concerns...I like Robert A. Nava's approach, & if I had input, I would reach out to Oxy, to see how they can be included in planning, & the environmental work involved. When the City is operating under Budgetary restraints, Dept.s like the City Atty. Attorney stripped down to the bear bones,etc., it seems strange they can manage to "invest" in Down Town. What I suggest is that what Down Town needs more is access to affordable housing. How is it the HHPNC can approve 50K for security cameras on York & Fig. (Purchased from an AZ Co., is my understanding), & yet Franklin's Girl's Cheerleaders have to struggle to obtain funding, so that they can compete out of state? There is a severe budgetary problem, i.e. No Money, in the HHPNC, that's why no banners, btw, Punk Attitude. My instincts are the same as bobo's. Bad idea from the start. Kids are expected to play right next door to a Auto Repair Shop? Some people like to push projects through, just so they can say,"hey, I was the one that made it happen." Joe Riser, & that joke of a "Dog Park" (more like a fenced in dirt lot) in Hermon.( I still don't like the name change from Arroyo Seco-which was more inclusive of the entire Northeast. The change to Hermon is obnoxicous as Snyder & Via Marisol was,IMHO.) I support pocket parks, green space yes. Pet Projects, no. How long b4 Street Porch is taken out by late-nite drunk driver? My feelings...
ChickenBoyFan September 30, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Buenos dias haters. It's time to wake up & check your real motives for not wanting a park in.......wait for it......yep,....... it's called........ Highland..... !PARK! Anyway, whatever caused the mood swings, we Ave 50/York park lovers forgive you, and hope to see you at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Now rise, and please, if only for yourself, Shine. Blessings and salutations. Your green space guru, Mahatma Bandy (bff of CBF)
ChickenBoyFan September 30, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Errr, That's Mahatma "BanTy" cluck. Yo Patch, Why isn't there an edit option for bloggers to correct their mistakes? I'm just sayin
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 03:28 PM
CBF, I'm a Green. I voted for Cynthia McKinney last time around. Trust me, I'm for green spaces, & the preservation of natural green spaces. I also know about, and appreciate the history of conservation as it relates to NortheastLA. It's not about anti-parks, vs pro-parks, now is it? Because I partake of my liesure time in all the area parks on a weekly basis. It's about the appropriateness & safety of this particular proposed "green space", which is in reality an old service station lot, right next door to an auto shop. It's only natural & prudent to proceed with caution, ESPECIALLY for Green Advocates. As far as the other, use Word, or some other program with edit features, & then cut and paste unto Patch. See you @ Tues. night's Forum! I'll be cluckin miffed if you're a no show!
ezio giraldo September 30, 2012 at 04:36 PM
more yuppy antics
ChickenBoyFan September 30, 2012 at 05:02 PM
MOG, Sorry but, CBF won't be attending the HHPNC forum due to a prior engagement for next week. Just be yourself and you'll do well. Good cluck
The MOG September 30, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Thanks CBF, I understand. I hope I can be presentable, though I realize I'm not the most attractive candidate. I'll just be myself, as I say...Oh, I just got word there will be an oppurtunity next week to hear both candidates for the president's chair. The meeting will be free, but lunch I guess, will be $5.00 There will be a chance to ask questions, too.
Tina Gulotta-Miller October 01, 2012 at 12:47 AM
Having more green open space is so much more beneficial for the community in the short and long run. A place with trees, seating areas and a place to meet neighbors and friends is something for everyone. People that live in the vicinity of the proposed park want it and hope to see it completed. I am really looking forward to seeing this happen as it will bring beauty and nature to all those that visit.
Nimby pimp October 01, 2012 at 03:20 AM
The park will be help ameliorate the visual blight that characterizes so much of this area. I support it!
carol van beek October 01, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Green grass and trees sounds real nice, but I can't imagine any parent allowing their kid to play ten or twenty feet away from all that car exhaust.
David Fonseca (Editor) October 01, 2012 at 03:41 AM
http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/articles/state-closes-environmental-issues-of-york-blvd-park-site Janet makes the several good points. The first being that the city needed to determine a use for the land before they could apply for funds to implement that use. Here's more info about the notice of closure: http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/articles/state-closes-environmental-issues-of-york-blvd-park-site
David Fonseca (Editor) October 01, 2012 at 03:44 AM
Hey CLV, check out this story about some of the environmental studies that have been done on the land. http://highlandpark-ca.patch.com/articles/state-closes-environmental-issues-of-york-blvd-park-site I respect everyone's right not to feel comfortable about the property, but there have been studies done that might (or might not) assuage those concerns.
Gil October 01, 2012 at 04:25 PM
Building a new park while existing parks in 90042 and surrounding areas are being neglected sounds like a good idea REALLY... Even if a grant is paying for the over priced purchase. who pays to mantain the park after??? I'm all for green space, but how about focusing on our current parks who some dont even have working bathrooms or drinking water and work on removing all the graffiti from the playground and parks. This park seems to be more about the adults than the kids.
Jason October 01, 2012 at 05:29 PM
"This park seems to be more about the adults than the kids." So? Who says parks need to be primarily for kids?
Gil October 01, 2012 at 07:27 PM
So what are you saying? That its not for kids??? Primary focus of any park should be kids and family.
Cerro Gordo October 01, 2012 at 07:40 PM
What are the yuppy antics? Wanting the park built or worrying about the land it would be built on?
MoJoMoon October 04, 2012 at 11:41 PM
lol..funny how everyone seems to have missed that fact in all their squawking. We dont allow smoking in dog parks or kids play areas. How are they going to address that car exhaust? A wall along York end of park? Thats why I never thought it a good idea in that location. Just more room for smokers and taggers to congregate. And doesnt cafe con leche allow smoking on the sidewalk across the street, as well?
MoJoMoon October 04, 2012 at 11:46 PM
I agree with the funds being needed elsewhere in HP as well..have you checked out the sidewalks on avenue 54?! Thats great they are fixing up all the low scoring schools in the area....( monte vista & franklin..still....) so they look good, but can you throw some of that money down on the sidewalks they walk over everyday to get to their purdy schools already? I'm sick of twisting my ankle and tripping if I don't constantly look down when walking. I need to pay attention to all the sudden night walkers here in HP as of late...cant always be looking down.
MoJoMoon October 04, 2012 at 11:48 PM
Yes..cuz everything that "should be" done, is being done on a daily basis... Gotcha. ;) If it were for the kids, it wouldnt be located there of all places.....lol
Anne Ewbank October 05, 2012 at 06:57 AM
Hi everyone, I'm an Oxy student doing an article on this park for my journalism class. I'd love to hear some opinions on it from HP residents, if any of you have a moment to talk to me please email me at ewbank@oxy.edu! Thanks.

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