Throughout 2021-22, California State Parks and Clockshop held a community listening process to hear directly from residents about their wants, needs, and questions about the future State Park at the Bowtie. We received input from over 2000 community members, which guided the concept design for the Bowtie. This overwhelming community support and feedback was an essential tool for State Parks to continue to move the Bowtie forward, advocating for the resources needed to make this park a reality.
In May of 2022, the Bowtie Park project was awarded a $5 million grant through the federal Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program of the Department of the Interior, which is the maximum amount any park could have gotten. Clockshop’s artistic programming and community engagement work at the Bowtie was a huge part of the application’s success, which had to demonstrate events, ongoing programs, a significant audience, and community involvement with the land. This will mean that the park could begin construction as early as the beginning of 2023, and become a new State Park for our Northeast LA communities.
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The Bowtie Conceptual Design
At the culmination of our community listening process, the Bowtie Design Team (SALT and RADAR) presented the conceptual design for the future park on March 5, 2022. The Bowtie’s design prioritizes the restoration of native habitat, walking paths, views of the river, spaces for informal gathering, a nature discovery area for children, connectivity to the Paseo del Río and the future city park at G2, and a nature-based experience along the LA River that will be accessible to all.
Bowtie Youth Council
Throughout the community listening process, Clockshop partnered with local youth ambassadors to engage students and their families in envisioning the future of the Bowtie. A council of 10 residents ages 14-22 supported outreach efforts in the northeast Los Angeles communities that neighbor the Bowtie. After a year of community engagement around the Bowtie, the BYC presented their findings and a list of demands to California State Parks. California State Parks responded with a list of commitments in response.
History of the Bowtie
The Bowtie is currently 18 acres of undeveloped industrial land along the Los Angeles River in the city’s northeast, which will one day be restored into vibrant greenspace that will bring back native wildlife and plants. The bowtie-shaped parcel is already a popular community space where local residents can roam freely to seek respite from everyday urban life.
The Bowtie sits within Taylor Yard, the former headquarters of Southern Pacific Railroad that was once a bustling railyard and major local employer. After rail operations shut down, local community residents advocated for a vision to revitalize 100 acres of the area into park space. In 2003, the California State Parks Department bought the Bowtie property to preserve the land for nature conservation and support efforts to restore the Los Angeles River. When complete, the Bowtie will be part of neighboring Rio de Los Angeles State. This area of the Los Angeles River is an important part of the river’s ecosystem, one of the only places where the river has a “soft bottom,” meaning it does not have a concrete bed and is still in its natural state.