South LA Eco-Lab receives $35 million for green job development

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California Construction News staff writer

The South LA Eco Lab, a collection of environmental and economic development projects in South Los Angeles last week received $35 million from the city, bring total funding to about $60 million.

“South Los Angeles is the heart of LA, and this investment will set our sights on what tomorrow should look like in a community with big dreams for the future,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This grant is a big step toward building the South LA that residents have envisioned for years – with improved quality of life, public health, and access to economic opportunity.”

South LA Eco-Lab will invest in infrastructure projects such as LADOT Stress Free connections and EV Car Share, StreetsLA Cool Pavement, Metro free monthly pass program, home solar installation through GRID Alternatives, street trees, and school greening that will provide open space and stormwater capture benefits. The project area includes 3.9 square miles bordered by Vernon Avenue, 60th Street, Western Ave, and Central at its northern, southern, western, and eastern limits respectively. The project is expected to be completed in 2028.

The grant was put together by a coalition of community based organizations, including SLATE-Z, Community Partners, CicLAvia, Climate Resolve, Coalition for Responsible Community Development, GRID Alternatives, LACI, LA Neighborhood Land Trust, SAJE, SCOPE, TreePeople, and TRUST South LA, who were able to secure the funding in partnership with the City of Los Angeles, LA Metro, LADOT, LADWP, and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, and with support from the Broad Foundation.

“The program targets under-invested communities who have built a network of organizations, residents, and businesses that have created a shared vision for the future. TCC provides resources to help catalyze this vision– whether that be affordable housing, community gardens, safe transit options, community resource centers, and more,” said Lynn von Koch-Liebert, Executive Director of the California Strategic Growth Council.

This is the the third major TCC grant that Los Angeles has won under Mayor  Garcetti, including $23 million for the Green Together Collaborative to fund green infrastructure in Pacoima, including solar panel installations, EV charging stations, a fleet of electric buses, pedestrian mobility improvements, and tree plantings throughout the community, and $35 million for Watts Rising, including funding for affordable housing, EV car share, EV Dash buses, community agriculture, green infrastructure, solar installation, and home weatherization.

“The South LA Eco-Lab project is an example of what can happen when we let communities lead and identify the projects that best meet their needs,” said Connie Llanos, Interim General Manager of LADOT. “This grant helps us expand on our commitment to deliver Universal Basic Mobility for South LA and deliver much-needed improvements for local residents including safer streets, cleaner air, and more options to get where they need to go reliably and affordably.”

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