Two years ago officials unveiled a $1 billion plan to restore and revitalize an 11-mile stretch of the L.A River from Griffith Park to Downtown, with the cost split 50-50 between the city and the Federal government. But those estimates have proven to be far off the mark. A new study released by city financial analysts now pegs the estimated cost at $1.6 billion, reports the L.A. Times. The city’s share of the cost has also risen to about 76%.
The most recent example of the high cost of restoring the river is the purchase and cleanup a 41-acre, riverside parcel on the border of Cypress Park and Glassell Park. The city has allocated $40 million to purchase what’s been called the “crown jewel” of river properties from from Union Pacific railroad. The property, known as Parcel G2, sit on a bend in the river next to Rio de Los Angeles State Park.
But the $40-million purchase price is only a relatively small portion of the project cost. When the expenses of cleaning up contaminated soil and other items are taken into account, the estimated cost of the project jumps to $252 million, according the 91-page report issued by City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Sharon Tso.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and some City Council members remain supporters of the river revitalization despite the soaring cost estimates. Councilman Gil Cedillo told the Times:
“This is a long-term project that is not going to happen overnight …. We must take it step by step, and first and foremost is securing the land.”