$10 Million in Funding for Norwood Elementary Greening Project
Los Angeles County Safe Clean Water Program has awarded $9.8 million in funding for the Norwood Elementary Greening Project in El Monte, California. This transformative project, led in partnership with El Monte City School District (EMCSD), Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Active San Gabriel Valley (ActiveSGV), aims to create a multiple-benefit 6-acre park that will provide recreational opportunities and access to green space for children and families in the community while demonstrating how you can manage stormwater in an environmentally friendly way that delivers added recreation benefits to the community.
EMCSD also plans to expand access to early childhood education, working directly with families to ensure their children are given equitable access to the educational structure needed to succeed. “El Monte City School District has always put community at the forefront of all of our efforts,” said Dr. Maribel Garcia, EMCSD Superintendent. “Our families deserve safe spaces where their children can play, explore, and socialize in their local community. We are proud to join Trust for Public Land and ActiveSGV in an effort to enact transformative changes to how school facilities can evolve with the community’s needs.”
EMCSD has major plans to revitalize the Norwood campus to be an early childhood development center, focusing on supporting families with children ages 0-5.“Our district has been collecting data since 2013 to monitor early childhood outcomes and as a result, we are identifying programs and services that will best serve our future students,” explained Dr. Garcia.
Norwood Elementary is situated in close proximity to a large population, with nearly 6,900 residents living within a 10-minute walk of the site, 25% of whom are children under 20 years old. Remarkably, there are no other public green spaces within a half-mile radius, underscoring the urgent need for accessible recreational facilities.
“We are thrilled to receive this significant funding. This investment illustrates how you can deliver multiple benefits that allow us to transform an unused schoolyard into a vibrant park that will serve as a much-needed recreational space for the El Monte community all while mitigating 8.3 million gallons of stormwater annually,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, CA Director for Trust for Public Land. “By creating accessible green spaces in a much-needed region of LA County, we are not only improving the quality of life for residents but also addressing the ever-growing environmental and health challenges we face today.”
The key improvements planned for the Norwood Elementary Greening Project include preserving the softball fields and primary buildings for community service purposes, removing a temporary building and a parking lot, and reducing the amount of paved surface. Additionally, the project will introduce walkways, a playground, an edible garden, trees, and native plant landscaping, as well as implement a water capture system to cleanse and infiltrate water from the surrounding streets, replenishing underground aquifers.
“The Norwood Elementary Greening Project embodies our vision for the San Gabriel Valley, where people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to thrive, and investments address pressing challenges like climate change and environmental inequality,” shared ActiveSGV Executive Director David Diaz. “This collaboration with Trust for Public Land and the El Monte City School District showcases the power of strong partnerships. Furthermore, it demonstrates Active SGV’s commitment to building healthier and sustainable communities for all.”