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Mayor, Army Corps of Engineer Will Urge Congress to Approve $1B L.A. River Restoration Project

The city's lobbying efforts were supported by Sen. Barbara Boxer.

L.A. River. Patch file photo.
L.A. River. Patch file photo.

Mayor Eric Garcetti and representatives of the Army Corps of Engineers announced today that the Corps will urge Congress to approve a $1 billion plan to restore parts of the Los Angeles River, as advocated by L.A. leaders.

"We saw a way forward," Garcetti said at a news conference on the river's edge. "We saw a goal. We had a dream. We found a plan. Alternative 20, the most robust restoration option that the Army proposed, was something that Angelenos rallied behind."

Garcetti and other city leaders have urged the Army Corps of Engineers -- which manages the river as a flood control channel -- to support the $1 billion plan instead of a more modest $453 million alternative the  agency originally wanted to recommend to Congress.

The plan will bring federal investment that creates jobs and green space in Los Angeles, Garcetti said.

"A kid who grows up here, along the banks of the L.A. River, shouldn't have her back to the river and shouldn't be denied green space simply because of the zip code she's born in," Garcetti said. "We should be able to make sure that the promise of connecting to nature, that idea of having open space and that revitalization of that ecology and this waterway is something that every Angelino should enjoy."

Col. Kim Colloton of the Los Angeles District Army Corps of Engineers said there is substantial federal interest in restoring the river.

"That not only recognizes the importance of the river to Angelenos, but it validates its place as a waterway of national significance," Colloton said.

On a recent trip to the nation's capital, Garcetti reached out to Jo- Ellen Darcy, the assistant Army secretary for civil works, in an effort to win federal approval for the ambitious habitat restoration plan, which would also provide recreational opportunities along an 11-mile stretch of the waterway north of downtown.

The city's lobbying efforts were supported by Sen. Barbara Boxer, Garcetti's most powerful congressional ally.

The two stepped up their efforts in Washington to persuade the Army Corps of Engineers to approve the $1 billion plan, including motivating Darcy, the Army Corps brass and the White House to back the costlier plan.

"It is great news that the Obama  Administration has approved the city's locally preferred alternative for the revitalization of the Los Angeles River," Boxer said in a statement issued in the nation's capital this morning.

Garcetti discussed the project last fall with President Barack Obama and has taken administration officials on tours of the river.

"At the end of the day, I think we have a president who can help," Garcetti told The Los Angeles Times.

Representatives of Friends of the Los Angeles River and the Los Angeles River Revitalization Corp. expressed thanks for the support of the project.

"Everyone who came to a cleanup, who signed a petition and who helped raised the funds for the Army Corps of Engineers to study this issue is part of this victory today and will be part of a restored Los Angeles River tomorrow," said Lewis MacAdams, Co-Founder and President of Friends of the Los Angeles River.

—City News Service

Shawn Richardson May 30, 2014 at 12:06 PM
If history provides any lessons, the city will screw this up completely and the citizens will get the shaft. Look at Rio de Los Angeles State Park, only recognizable as being different from a vacant lot by the sports fields. It is a terrible design by ecological ideologues at North East Trees that never had the budget to properly maintain it. Now it is an ugly field filled with dead trees and invasive weeds choking out what is left of an ill considered native planting. Then there is the giant bait and switch that is the Los Angeles State Historic Park. The city held a design competition for the park and Hargreaves and Assoc. won. Now I am not a huge fan of their outdated modernist landscapes but at least they are competent. Once the public got on board thinking they were getting some world class design, the commission is pulled from Hargreaves and given to a banal firm in San Diego that would then produce a sad and pathetic design not worthy of a world class city. Look at the pocket parks around the river. Most are so badly infected with the restoration meme that they require signs to inform people that they should not be viewed as a weedy mess. The people of Los Angeles deserve better. They deserve parks like the Highline, but instead get treated like beggars thankful for any scrap of trash.
nonoise June 01, 2014 at 10:58 AM
Rio de Los Angeles State Park is nothing but a bunch of athletic fields. The design is very ulgy.

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