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Thursday, November 27, 2014

New Lincoln Heights park is ready but public remains fenced out

Temporary fencing closes off Ed. P. Reyes River Greenway

Water cascades down into a rock-lined pool.  Newly planted trees and flowering shrubs sway in the breeze.  Burgundy colored benches  await visitors while pathways and bridges beckon to those who want to take a short stroll.   After more than a year of construction, the new Ed P. Reyes River Greenway in Lincoln Heights is ready for the public. In fact, the one-acre of parkland off Humboldt Street  was finished at the end of the year but the greenway will officially remain off limits to the public for at least several more months.  Why?  The city needs to find money to build a permanent fence to replace the chain link barrier now in place.

The greenway, named after the former First District Councilman, has been touted by the city as an innovative way to treat storm drain runoff while creating new parks and public spaces along the Los Angeles River.  An underground biofiltration system  helps clean and collect the storm water using a natural treatment process.  The waterfall pumps, as well as the lights along the path that loops around the one-acre park, are powered by solar energy collected by panels on the site.   But all of this remains fenced off to residents who live in a primarily industrial area without any parks or public spaces.

The city’s Bureau of Sanitation is working with Council District 1  “to provide fencing for the project as a deterrent against potential vandalism,” said Lauren Skinner with the Department of Public Works. “The schedule estimate is a couple of months.”

Of course,  since the temporary chain-link gates at the two park entrances are unlocked and open, the public – as well as vandals – can simply stroll in until the permanent fence is installed.



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14 comments

  1. “The City needs to find money to build a fence around the park.”

    Oh, really?

    I look no further than The Eastsider for all my important news:

    http://www.theeastsiderla.com/2013/08/councilman-cedillo-diverts-funds-away-from-l-a-river/

    The $500,000 in LA River money is being used to buy electric trash cans and pay for one-time trash pick ups in the portions of CD1 that voted him into office.

    Collective punishment being meted out one small project and non-returned call at a time.

    • Echo Park resident

      Typical. Surely a small portion of that $500k can be used to build a fence? Last time I checked, a community clean up doesn’t require hundreds of thousands of dollars.

      Or maybe the Councilman could dip into his $178k+ yearly salary to find a way to let this park open up?

      • Dip into his grossly excessive salary to bring some good to the health of the community he represents? You’ve got to be kidding me!

        Cedillo: You say you support LA River restoration yet can’t spend a few bucks to fix this embarrassing fence situation for a river adjacent park?

  2. Oh, and word is that a large-ish bronze statue of a raccoon (or some other mammal) was stolen from the park by metal scrappers.

  3. Can we have a law that prohibits naming city projects after living persons? There’s no call for a politician’s self-aggrandizement at taxpayer expense. Even if the namesake didn’t engineer the naming, the practice can open the door to trading favors among politicians and their buddies for the honor of having someone’s name etched on a project that city residents paid for.

    And regarding those trash cans and Gil Cedillo as mentioned above, I haven’t seen a news story that covers a diversion of funds for that purpose, but I have seen one of the cans. It has Gil Cedillo’s name on it, big and bold, along with large #1 (as in Council District). Yep… self-aggrandizement.

  4. Cedillo. Reyes. Villaraigosa. Yep, a long line of corruption at City Hall that goes well beyond Lincoln Heights and Highland Park. (Did Villaragiosa ever “hold Autry’s feet to the fire” for the Southwest Museum, or is he still planning on getting back to that some day?)

  5. Save The Los Angeles River

    The city is broke. Can’t fix streets, sidewalks, clean up trash or do too much of anything else…….but they can keep on spending money on projects like this that few will use, and then can’t open because they don’t have the money. Now I read that there are those who want the recreation zone to be a permanent thing on the river. No money for that either and we are in a drought so they want more water put into the river so they can boat and make money for themselves off taxpayrs.

    • The city has lots and lots of money. I never believe anyone in government when they tell me “there isn’t enough money” for something. These clowns are tearing down and rebuilding bridges all along the river to interstate highway specifications for “future traffic” that won’t even exist (car trips have been dropping nationally and regionally since 2005 despite population growth). That is hundreds of millions spent on make-work projects for engineers and cement contractors.

      If we can get federal grants for that, we can get grants for sidewalks and then re-boot our sidewalk maintenance fee collection system.

      And about those kayaks in the river -none of those folks are making very much of anything doing what they are doing. It’s a marginal business that might see growth in the future. That alone would not sway any politician I have ever met.

    • The drought is exactly the reason why we need more unpaved surfaces, especially near the river, to allow rainfall to infiltrate into the groundwater supplies rather than immediately rushing out to the ocean.

  6. This is down the street from my job. I better make a point to visit this park before taggers and vandals put their own personal artistic stamp on it. Seriously, why are we spending tax dollars on infrastructure if we can’t prevent or afford to repair anticipated acts of graffiti and vandalism? How hard is it for Lincoln Heights to start giving a crap about itself?

    • I wouldn’t go too far into victim blaming mode on Lincoln Heights. It is hard to work as a community when so many steps have been taken by local government to ensure that people cannot collect together in public, make friends, nor feel safe. This whole area is over run with overly fast car dominated streets and has been tor asunder by the 5/10 freeway – there are no places to find respite (except on steep hilllsides and not even there most of the time except the unpaved dirt tracks around the rim of the community).

    • We live in Lincoln Heights, every time we report graffiti it’s usually gone within 24 hrs.

  7. I think it’s less about blaming freeways and traffic, and more about bad, lazy parenting. As far as I know there isn’t a city ordinance preventing Lincoln Heights parents from congregating in public and spanking the crap out of their kid for littering and tagging up the neighborhood. And I can think of two very large parks in this part of town for needed respite: one being Lincoln Park and the other being the adjacent Los Angeles Historic Park. Playing the victim is something I’ve seen Lincoln Heights do a lot of. Especially feeling the crush of impending gentrification coming from all sides as Cypress Park, Frogtown, Happy Valley and El Sereno are all being recognized for their affordable, historic charm.

    • First, spanking kids is done plenty in Lincoln Heights.

      Second, Lincoln Park is a shambles. Los Angeles Historic Park? Yeah, they chase you out of there if you date to kick a soccerball around. Good luck living the good life there. Also – how will you get to the park? By walking? Have fun! It’s a real life frogger adventure to access any of LH’s parks.

      There are some very basic street-design issues that prevent the Latin-Americans in this community from coming together and organizing in their own interests. It’s not all about placemaking, but in a lot of ways it is. The streets in this community are designed to be hostile to anyone not in a car. That is a high financial bar for most people here. Even if you can afford to drive around you are more isolated than ever. Down here at the bottom of the economic scale we need all the social and cultural capital we can get – yet our community is designed to be run over twice a day so that people too stupid to take the 10 or the 5 or the 110 to the office can just floor it down all of the surface streets.

      The people who’ve self-anointed themselves as community leaders want everyone to start driving around and being middle class like them. Well, it’s either that or they want to just slam everyone for being poor, dumb, “mexican”, etc.

      At our town hall meeting with Cedillo in 2013 on his listening tour ever single group in the room got up in English and Spanish and stated that their top safety concern was unsafe streets to cross and the high speed of traffic. Since that time, Ed Reyes’ legacy street project have gone in and the spigot has since been turned off. It took 10 years for Reyes to get off his butt and find the bedrock of local quality of life in Lincoln Heights and once he discovered it he got termed out. Now we have this seat warmer, a left-wing Ronald Reagan with a tan, and it’s is going to be a long slog to get him to recognize that blaming poverty and ignorance for everything is a waste of time. I hope you’ll figure that out too.

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