In the shadow of the L.A. County USC Medical Center, the Hazard Park Armory sits worn out and forgotten in a corner of a 25-acre city park on the border of Boyle Heights and El Sereno. Today, a city council committee will review a proposed, 50-year agreement to lease the Armory and more than four acres of Hazard Park to a private non-profit, Legacy LA, at no cost. It’s an arrangement that could spread to other city parks.
While Legacy LA gets the site for free, the group plans to rehab the property and launch several programs to help keep kids out of gangs – something apparently the city cannot afford to do at the moment.
Sounds like a good trade. But a few neighborhood residents and park advocates have raised concerns. It’s still far from certain, for example, that Legacy LA, a relatively new but ambitious group, can raise the $3 million to $5 million needed to renovate the property, let alone more money to fund its programs. What’s more troublesome to those who have questioned the deal is the idea of letting a private non profit, which does not answer to the public, take control of a chunk of a public park for decades to come.
Photo: Legacy LA