LA PUENTE – The city moved toward its goal of building a nature center that would give residents a second park and teach them about local flora and fauna. The City Council decided Tuesday to apply for a $150,000 state grant from the California Department of Parks and Recreation Land and Water Conservation Program for the proposed Puente Creek Nature Education Center. They hired Schmidt Design Group Inc. to design the project. The city has also used the San Diego-based firm to do the conceptual plan for the center. The one-acre nature center, estimated to cost $1.9 million, will be on Nelson Avenue between Nelson Elementary School and the Puente Creek channel. It will be the second park for La Puente since it became a city in 1956. Since the city doesn’t have all the money, it will build the nature center in two phases, according to the city. Phase one will include a play area with a climbing wall, trails, decorative boulders, an entry kiosk, education exhibits, parking, fencing plus grading and drainage. The city will start the second phase when the funding becomes available, according to Rozanne Adanto, community services director. Councilwoman Lola Storing, who anticipates construction to begin next year, said the project is very important. “We only have one park in the city and we have over 41,000 people,” Storing said. “This will be a learning park geared for kids. We will have leaders in the park teaching about birds and nature.” She said Hacienda-La Puente Unified School District schools will use the park. But Storing said it will benefit families as well. The parkland to population ratio in La Puente is a little more than a half acre to 1,000 residents, Adanto said. She pointed out that the national average is two and half acres per thousand. The sole park in the city, the 22-acre La Puente Park, is used a lot by sports groups and residents, she added. “Sometimes they’re tripping over each other,” Adanto said. “On the weekend, because of the \ holiday, there were thousands of people in the park. You couldn’t see a blade of grass.” Part of the consultant’s job will be to coordinate developing educational programs with Hacienda-La Puente Unified, developing a handbook for docents and training docents and staff. The grant from the state requires that the city match the funds. The city plans to get the needed matching money from a $750,000 grant earmarked for it by the San Gabriel & Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2718 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!