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URBAN GREENWAY LINKS BLUE LINE STATION TO WATTS TOWERS

 LOS ANGELES, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Children of the Watts community joined Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials today in the opening ceremony of the Watts Urban Greenways Project -- a park-like area near the Metro Blue Line right-of-way.
 Westminster Neighborhood Association School children kicked off the event with a tricycle ride and safety demonstration.
 Extending approximately three blocks along Graham Avenue, the Watts site provides a winding path with space for bicycles and pedestrians, sandy areas dedicated for artwork, grassy areas, drought-tolerant trees and shrubs.
 "The project transformed a strip of barren, littered ground adjacent to the 103rd Street Blue Line Station into a colorful, landscaped pathway, connecting the rail station to the historic Watts Towers Cultural Monument and Art Center," said Supervisor Yvonne Burke, MTA board member.
 "The Watts community is the first one to benefit from the Urban Greenways Project," said Nick Patsaouras, alternate MTA board member, who proposed the idea two years ago. "We want to bring vegetation, beauty, and public recreation opportunities to inner-city neighborhoods," he added.
 "Urban Greenways are a good example of community and public agency cooperation to revitalize neighborhoods and maintain rail corridors," said Franklin White, chief executive officer of the MTA.
 "The Greenways can be developed along rights-of-way or other transportation facilities owned by the MTA," White said. They link transit corridors to cultural and recreational areas and contain bikeways, pedestrian, or equestrian trails.
 The MTA allocated $150,000 of Proposition A funds for design and construction.
 The community, through the Watts Cultural Crescent Advisory Committee, participated in the selection of the designer and landscape architect for the project. The selected firm, Melendrez and Associates -- a female-owned business -- gathered project ideas from the community and obtained community approval of the final design. Local high school students were hired to work with the architects drafting design plans.
 The artwork will include a series of temporary site-specific murals painted by local youths. "The murals will honor the community and provide young people with the experience of working on a public art project," said White.
 "The Community Redevelopment Agency of the City of Los Angeles plans to incorporate the Watts Urban Greenways site into the proposed Watts Cultural Crescent project, which could feature a series of new museums, theaters, classrooms, a child care center and retail shops for the community," said CRA Vice Chair Peggy Moore.
 "The Watts Cultural Crescent Project promises to become a symbol of the ongoing rebirth of Watts and South Central Los Angeles in the wake of last year's civil disturbance and a focal point for artistic expression in the community," she said.
 The Watts project is part of a Countywide Urban Greenways Master Plan, developed with the Mountains Conservancy Foundation. The plan identifies 13 other locations for future Urban Greenways construction.
 -0- 10/6/93
 /CONTACT: Clara Potes-Fellow or Stephanie Brady, MTA News Bureau, 213-244-6566 or 213-244-6792/


CO: Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority ST: California IN: SU:

LS-EH -- LA016 -- 9370 10/06/93 13:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 6, 1993
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