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Los Angeles County to Turn Landfill Into First New Regional Park in 30 Years

Los Angeles County to Turn Landfill Into First New Regional Park in 30 Years

Trucks dump trash at the landfill in Puente Hills, Calif. on Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013, its last day of operation. (Nick Ut/AP)

Jill McLaughlin
Jill McLaughlin

6/26/2024

Updated: 6/30/2024

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A $12.5 million state grant will help convert a 142-acre landfill into Los Angeles County’s first new park in three decades.
The Wildlife Conservation Board approved the county’s funding, along with projects in 22 other counties, at the board’s quarterly meeting on May 23 and announced the award June 22.
The county’s Parks and Recreation Department plans to convert the site, formerly a portion of the Puente Hills Landfill in the City of Industry, about 17 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
Puente Hills Regional Park will be the first new county park in over 30 years.
County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who represents the community around the park, spearheaded the county’s plan to build the new space over the landfill.
The county allocated $28.25 million for the park in May 2022, and started building the first phase in January 2023.
“The Puente Hills Landfill Park is finally coming to fruition!” Ms. Solis posted on X Jan. 12, 2023.
The first phase is expected to take four years to complete, according to Ms. Solis. When it opens in 2027, the park is expected to have a new park road, multi-use trails, landscaping and irrigation, a visitors’ center and offices, scenic outlooks with art, park furniture and signs, public restrooms, and parking.
“This project means so much to me,” Ms. Solis said. “As someone who grew up in La Puente, I’m looking forward to seeing families in Hacienda Heights and the surrounding San Gabriel Valley region finally get to benefit from this investment after decades of environmental injustices.”
The landfill, once the nation’s second largest, permanently closed Oct. 31, 2013, when its county permit expired after serving the county for 56 years. While in operation, the landfill took in trash from all over the county and grew higher than 500 feet as it filled.
The old waste has remained covered up since its closure.
The county also plans to restore the site by establishing native plant communities and providing open space for residents of Los Angeles and Orange counties, and counties further inland, including San Bernardino and Riverside.
“Puente Hills Regional Park is the culmination of a decades-long vision to transform the former landfill and its 150 million tons of trash into a public space, a place for nature and wildlife, a place for healing, restoration, and regeneration,” said Norma Garcia-Gonzales, director of Parks and Recreation, in a press release Monday.
“The resulting native landscapes and spectacular views will serve millions in the greater Los Angeles region for generations to come.”
A master plan for the park was approved in 2016 by the county Board of Supervisors.
TheParks and Recreation Department led an 18-month community engagement effort that included workshops and outreach presentations, according to the county.
The master plan received more than 1,400 public supporters and many letters of support from local cities and community organizations.
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Jill McLaughlin is an award-winning journalist covering politics, environment, and statewide issues. She has been a reporter and editor for newspapers in Oregon, Nevada, and New Mexico. Jill was born in Yosemite National Park and enjoys the majestic outdoors, traveling, golfing, and hiking.

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