Saturday: Help Plan Senator Bill Greene Memorial Park at Figueroa and Slauson
The lot at 5800 S. Figueroa has sat vacant since 1959
This Saturday morning (tomorrow), join the Department of Recreation and Parks and Councilmember Curren Price’s office to offer your thoughts on the future of Senator Bill Greene Memorial Park, slated to be built on the 20,000 square-foot vacant lot on the corner of Figueroa and Slauson.
Although the site’s location next to the freeway is less than ideal in some ways, as seen below, there is no question it will provide some much-needed green space.
It also has the potential to provide a welcoming rest spot or gathering place for residents looking to make use of the (long-delayed) 6.4-mile segment of the Rail-to-Rail bike/pedestrian path that is planned to replace the train tracks currently running along Slauson between the Crenshaw and Blue Lines (below). [See more on that project here.]
The LADWP-owned site at 5800 S. Figueroa has long been an eyesore.
The Figueroa Pump Station that once stood there was essential to providing potable water to the community going all the way back to 1908. When it was shut down in 1959, the pump station, fuel storage tank, and facilities were then demolished and the storage reservoir was backfilled.
It has sat vacant and collecting trash ever since.
But a 2019 study determined bridge housing would be infeasible, concluding about 18 months’ worth of remediation work needed to be done to ensure the site was completely decontaminated. The top three feet of contaminated soil, which included lead particles, had been removed in 2017. But deeper, isolated spots of contamination remain around where the fuel tanks had once stood. Further clean-up of the site will entail excavating those areas and bringing in clean new soil.
Interestingly, the July 2021 environmental study for the park project suggests remediation of the space will only take two or three months, raising questions about the earlier 18-month estimate.
Once remediated, the Department of Recreation and Parks will work with a local community organization (as yet unnamed) to develop the park space, which they expect to include pathways, seating elements, shade structures, exercise stations, and children’s play equipment.
The park planning process also offers an opportunity to re-introduce residents to the late Senator Bill Greene. Born in Missouri in 1930, Greene was an active figure in the Civil Rights movement and jailed in both Missouri and Louisiana for his work with the Freedom Riders. According to his wife, his arrests infringed on their engagement, as he became a fugitive after escaping from the Louisiana jail, making it difficult for her to introduce him to her parents.
Prior to his election as California State Assemblymember in 1967, Greene had been the first Black clerk in the Assembly. Between his time in the Assembly and his election to state Senate in 1975, he represented South Central for a total of 25 years.
Greene retired in 1992 due to health reasons and passed away in 2002. He is seen below in 1967, second from right.
If you can’t make the event but would like to provide input, send your thoughts to/request more information from email@example.com or call the councilmember’s office at (323) 846-2651.