May 27, 2021
Responses to questions on the Community Taylor Yard Equity Strategy (Community TYES) Request for Interest (RFI)
The City has identified approximately $190,000 to dedicate to developing the Equity Strategy. The source of funds is the Department of Water and Power, through a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Engineering to implement the 2007 Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. Implementation actions will need a separate budget and funding to be identified. We intend to form a work plan, and therefore a plan for scope and expenditures, together with a core project team. The City would plan to transfer the identified funds to an NGO partner who may pool it with its own additional funding to secure services, pending approval by the City Council and a written agreement with the NGO partner. The primary NGO partner will be responsible to pay others from the project fees billed to the City.
It is possible that more than $190,000 may be needed to develop the Equity Strategy, and therefore an ideal primary NGO partner will be able to identify funding to at least match the City’s funds or more and contribute financially to the project.
Restoration and improvements at Taylor Yard will be completed in multiple projects and phases over several years. Fortunately, funding has been secured to begin to provide the first public access project at Taylor Yard G2 (Paseo del Rio), a water quality project at Taylor Yard G2, a pilot water quality project at G1, and initial improvements to sports fields at Rio de Los Angeles State Park. Because of the lead time involved with designing and building the full-scale restoration that is envisioned across Taylor Yard’s 100 acres of public space, we expect that the TYES project and its potential programs will be able to be deployed before the vast majority of construction at Taylor Yard occurs, without needing to purposely delay any project phases.
The timeline is flexible, and the one provided in the Request for Interest is a target to reflect an expectation of urgency but with enough time allowed for thoroughness. An exact plan of work and timeline is expected to be developed once a core project team is assembled. The City’s identified funding does not carry timeline constraints with it.
The City team expects to offer and receive transparency, and to be transparent with community members to the maximum possible extent. We hope to identify both public and private/philanthropic sources to support the community equity programs that the TYES project will call for and organize. If and when NGO partners secure funding, we would hope that transparency is available, with due respect to the constraints of funders. For public investments, we expect there will be accessible records of public processes available, such as through the actions of the City Council or the State of California’s legislature.
We also would invite a follow up that helps clarify the original question, with hopes that this answer was helpful.
The City’s objective is to define the specific scope, goals, and metrics of the TYES project with the core project team and with input from community members. The Request for Interest is intended to communicate the topics and general goals that the City team expects will be defined by the core project team. Importantly, this is not meant to be a Request for Proposals to seek cost proposals on a defined scope. Rather, we are primarily seeking to understand who is interested in and capable of successfully developing the Community TYES project.
The first order of work will then be to develop the Equity Strategy document or plan. This will involve community engagement in a variety of formats to seek information on the experiences, hopes, and concerns of residents. It will also involve deep discussions with City departments, the offices of elected officials, and external experts to identify potential programmatic and policy actions. Success at this stage would be a finished Strategy document that has broad community, agency, and institutional support. From there, a further measure of success would be in the capacity, financial and otherwise, to begin implementing programs and actions that are recommended in the TYES document. Metrics for success for program actions should be developed in the TYES document as well, but we feel it would be premature to prescribe them at this stage.
The TYES project is fundamentally an action of the 100-Acre Partnership at Taylor Yard, the collaboration of the City of Los Angeles, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, and California State Parks to cohesively design, implement, and operate restored public open space at the Taylor Yard site. The City of Los Angeles, as part of the 100-Acre Partnership, has led the development of the TYES project with the involvement of all the Partners.
We expect that involved external parties will enter into an agreement to govern the performance of the TYES project, likely in the form of a memorandum of understanding, or MOU. Through this Request for Interest, we are seeking expressions of interest from organizations and individuals who want to play a role in the TYES project, perhaps as a formal MOU partner.
The TYES project will involve a great deal of public interface, and interested parties should be comfortable operating in that space with residents, public agencies and community organizations, and potentially the media. All project partners, including the City, will be part of this engagement work, and a lead NGO partner would also naturally be identified as a “public face” of the project. The RFI is not intended to convey that an NGO partner would be alone in that role.
Several City departments and offices have helped develop the TYES project to this point and will be involved in development of the Strategy and its implementation. They include: the Bureau of Engineering, the Department of Water and Power, the Housing and Community Investment Department, the Department of City Planning, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the City Council, and various teams in the Office of Mayor Garcetti. An internal working group that includes these offices has worked to develop the TYES project concept to this point of seeking public expressions of interest, and its place as an action step in the Bureau of Engineering’s Taylor Yard G2 Implementation Feasibility Report.
Yes, this would be welcome and encouraged.
The 100-Acre Partners and the City’s TYES team is committed to delivering the Strategy and the maximum extent of implementation strategies that it can with the current resources. We will likely need to identify additional funding and capacity to support implementation programs, and we will pursue those diligently. If there are implementation strategies that are not within the purview or control of the City to deliver, then we will work with the 100-Acre Partners, and the core TYES team of partners, to identify capable delivery leads, and work with them to advocate for action.
Fundamentally, the TYES and its implementation will be a project of the 100-Acre Partnership at Taylor Yard. The 100-Acre Partners are working now to formalize their partnership through an MOU, with the intention of institutionalizing the collaboration for the long-term. As for the role of Mayor’s staff, Mayor Garcetti tasked his staff to help develop the 100-Acre Partnership to specifically create a structure that will outlast various political timelines.
The members of the 100-Acre Partnership and the City TYES team anticipate that the TYES will explore and recommend policies that would require legislative action at the local, state, or perhaps national level. While there is no way to guarantee success on such proposals, the team is committed to facilitate sincere development of policy actions with legislative offices and to pursue their adoption with vigor. We expect to raise final TYES policy recommendations to the City Council and other legislative bodies for their consideration in partnership with the core TYES team members and NGO leads.
The Bureau of Engineering, as the City’s lead for Taylor Yard and manager of the identified funds, will be a day-to-day co-project manager with the core NGO team and will help make connections across City departments and offices to develop City policy recommendations. State-level recommendations would also be pursued with the involvement of the 100-Acre Partners.
An analogy to consider is the City’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Plan, which was developed through a process that included residents, experts, and agency professionals. Its recommendations were refined through several rounds of feedback, and it was ultimately sent to the Los Angeles City Council, which adopted its recommendations. On a different scale and with a different goal, a process like that can serve as a model to illustrate the commitment the TYES team has made and will continue to make to facilitate success.