Monday, June 26, 2006

River Rebirth

First, the good news: After 70 years as a glorified cement ditch, the Los Angeles River is finally poised to come back to life.

Now, the bad news: We may not see the fruits of the river's rebirth for 20 years.

I'm impatient, but still excited about the eventual plan to turn much of the river's banks into parkland, connected up and down its Los Angeles stretch. The L.A. Times has the details:

In one spot north of Chinatown, officials hope to dig a second channel of the river that would slice through an industrial area and skirt the edge of the new Cornfields State Park that is under construction.

About three miles north in Taylor Yards, where another state park is in the works, city officials hope to obtain a parcel of land from the Union Pacific Corp. that would allow them to knock out some of the concrete channel to create a waterway that looks like a river.

Most daunting, perhaps, is a plan to build a park along the river downtown between the 1st Street bridge and the 10 Freeway — a stretch now occupied by railroad tracks and a forlorn industrial area that is anything but green...

The five sites were among 20 "areas of opportunity" that the city wants to develop. The remaining sites will likely get smaller projects.

Some of what is being proposed may not be completed for 20 years or more, officials said. Still they remain hopeful that construction on a few projects could be underway within five years.

Of course, there are still several unanswered questions: "Among them are improving the river's water quality, accommodating railroad tracks that run along the river, obtaining property, keeping the public away from the river during big storms and, most important, paying for it."

(Photo from Delirious L.A.)

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