Torrance resident selected to head Los Angeles Parks Foundation

California

Los Angeles Parks Foundation, a nonprofit created in 2008 to enhance and preserve the 450 parks in the city, has selected a Torrance resident as its new leader.

Tony Budrovich, who “has had a distinguished career as a nonprofit and amusement park executive,” recently began his new role as the organization’s executive director, the Los Angeles Parks Foundation announced in a  press release.

Prior to his new position, Budrovich served eight years as the president and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy. He was also the deputy director and senior vice president of operations at the California Science Center, where he was responsible for constructing, opening and displaying the space shuttle Endeavor exhibit, the press release said.

“I received a number of opportunities out of state, but I wasn’t finding a mission that excited me until this job came around,” Budrovich said in a recent interview. “When I got the call from the board, it was with great satisfaction. I am looking forward to sticking with this topic that I think is so helpful to the residents of Los Angeles.”

Budrovich grew up in San Pedro, spent a few years in Carson and eventually settled in Torrance, where he has spent 33 years of his life, he said. He has played softball at Wilson Park and watched fireworks from Hickory Park.

“I think Torrance values their parks and gives them good attention,” Budrovich said.

“I think that in Los Angeles, there’s even less green space than in Torrance, so parks become more and more valuable,” he added. “But that also means they become more and more overused, and so they just need a lot of love and care and a little support to bring things back to be green and usable.”

As California gets warmer and drier, many parks have soccer fields with grass that isn’t fully grown, or baseball fields with rutted baselines, Budrovich said.

One way to enhance the parks is to grow more native plants, which keep parks “looking like the normal environment should in so many places,” he said.

Another idea, Budrovish said, is to potentially add artificial turf so people can use a soccer field every day, not just when the weather is great.”

“Parks offer the ability to go shoot a basket or to move a tennis ball around or maybe a volleyball game or just take your dog for a walk. So I’ve always loved parks,” Budrovich said. “And so getting to sort of represent a helpful side of the park equation was wonderful.”

Budrovich is the third executive director of the Los Angeles Parks Foundation; be took the helm on June 20.

Barry Sanders, former president of the Board of Commissioners for LA’s Recreation and Parks Department, launched the foundation in 2008. Part of its mission is to collaborate with the city’s parks department.

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