Will city departments give up Atwater property for parkland?

Earlier this year city officials and Atwater Village residents celebrated the restoration of North Atwater Creek and the expansion of North Atwater Park near the Los Angeles River. But there might be more room for additional parkland  in the northern tip of Atwater Village, according to Councilman Tom LaBonge . LaBonge  has asked  city agencies to study the possibility of creating more parkland next to North Atwater Park by using some of the land now used by a Recreation and Parks Department maintenance yard and and an adjacent water reclamation plant.  The proposal would create more parkland along the east bank of the Los Angeles River across from Griffith Park. But there are many hurdles to such a proposal.

The City Council motion introduced by LaBonge notes that the park maintenance yard and water reclamation plant – jointly owned by the cities of Los Angeles and Glendale – “are extremely important to their respective departments’ functions.”  Recreation and Parks officials have said in the past that it would be costly to consolidate its operations in the maintenance yard to make room for public parkland. But the idea has persisted. In 2009, The City Project blog said that officials could create the city’s next “great urban park” by combining a portion of maintenance yard on the east bank of the Los Angeles River with North Atwater Park and the restored creek bed.

LaBonge spokesman Scott Levin said the councilman has a “passive park” in mind. But at this point it’s way too early to determine what if any new parkland will be used for. In addition, LaBonge will no longer represent Atwater Village as result of newly adopted council district boundaries.

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