Posted on 11/21/2022

LOS ANGELES – Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced a $35 million Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) grant from the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) for the South LA Eco-Lab, a collection of environmental and economic development projects in South Los Angeles. The funding will be leveraged with additional $24.6 million from the City of Los Angeles, Metro, and non-profit partners – totalling nearly $60 million for mobility, clean energy, and green job development projects in South Los Angeles.

“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.” 

With a final project budget of nearly $60 million, the 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 South LA Eco-Lab 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 South LA Eco-Lab builds on the work of the South LA Climate Commons Collaborative, a project which won a planning grant from TCC for $200,000 in 2018. Mayor Garcetti’s Offices of Sustainability and Economic Opportunity worked with SLATE-Z, the Los Angeles Equity Alliance, and Brotherhood Crusade to help create the neighborhood level climate resiliency plan, and the Department of City Planning was the fiscal sponsor for the planning grant.

The South LA Eco-Lab is the product of intensive, multi-year community engagement to bring healthier air, cleaner energy, new mobility options, and economic opportunity to a community with a history of racial injustice, disinvestment, and disproportionately high levels of pollution. The South LA Eco-Lab will also leverage or connect to other climate related investments and programs within South Los Angeles and throughout the SLATE-Z area, including LADOT’s Universal Basic Mobility Program, Metro’s Rail-to-Rail, and expansion of the Baldwin Hills Conservancy.

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.”

“Our community has been working to address poverty in South Los Angeles by revitalizing the economy in environmentally sustainable ways,” said Zahirah Mann, President and CEO of SLATE-Z. “SLATE-Z is proud serve as the strategic advisor for the South LA Eco-Lab, and form part of the lead applicant team with Community Partners and the City of Los Angeles; we have the privilege of working with incredible, mission driven governmental, nonprofit, and resident leaders who developed holistic and transformative projects and plans.  The South LA Eco-Lab will result in deep transformative change for South Los Angeles, launching our community as a leader in climate mitigation and preparing our businesses, residents, and students for the climate resilient economy.”

"The Strategic Growth Council’s Transformative Climate Communities Program supports 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. “We are honored to work in meaningful partnership with the South LA Eco-Lab, a group that has been an important leader in South LA, working for years to advance equitable and lasting community development.”