If a nonprofit can make money off the Echo Park paddle boats, why can’t the city?

The Echo Park Lake paddle boats that were put out of operation earlier this month in the wake of city budget cuts will return to the water this Sunday. But don’t get your hopes up. The boats will be used for a one-day Echo Park Lake Paddle Boat Regatta, a fundraiser for 826LA, a nonprofit which operates a well regarded literacy and tutoring center in Echo Park. Then the boats (paddle or pedal?) go back into storage and the Echo Park Lake Boathouse will shut its doors.

It might seem odd that a nonprofit can generate funds from an attraction that the city said it can no longer afford to keep open to the public. Of course, each paddle boat crew must raise at least $100 to be included in the race. It’s a good cause. Maybe Recreation and Parks, which also knocked off the Lotus Festival, should follow the 826’s creative initiative and hold its own regatta fundraiser so the paddle boats won’t become just another sad reminder of what was.

Photo by Andy Sternberg via Flickr

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