On January 20th 2011, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Beverly Vermont Community Land Trust (BVCLT) signed the joint use agreement that enables a new learning garden at Los Angeles Eco-Village! The site is the currently-vacant lot at the north east corner of the intersection of Bimini Place and White House Place.
That corner was formerly occupied by a fourplex apartment building, where founder Lois Arkin lived during the early years of Los Angeles Eco-Village (LAEV.) During the 1990’s eco-villagers, including Mary Maverick, gardened the front and back yards, including gardening programs involving youth attending the then-adjacent White House Place Primary Center (WHPPC.)
In a effort to provide more school facilities, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) closed WHPPC, with plans to convert the site to parking for school expansion on the north side of First Street. Eco-Village and our allies initially advocated for the corner housing to be preserved… we lost. Then we pushed for the entire corner site not to be converted to parking. With an alternative site plan in hand, we pushed for modification to the initial parking lot designs. In 2009, the LAUSD relented, built their parking more-or-less according to our alternative design, and entered into negotiations for the new joint use agreement. With the signing of the Joint-Use Agreement, we hope for more harmonious relations between LAEV and LAUSD.
There are a number of steps that need to take place prior to the new learning garden opening. These include handicapped access, entry gates, some terracing… but soon, local schools and the community will have a garden at the site. Here’s the rough schematic design agreed to by the BVCLT and LAUSD: