A farewell tour of Echo Park Lake as we know it *

The city’s Public Works Department will tomorrow*  host the first of three public tours show the improvements planned as part of an $84 million rehabilitation of Echo Park Lake.  The tours are a reminder that in just a few months, in the spring of 2011,  Echo Park Lake and the parkland that surrounds it will be fenced off to the public. All the walkers, joggers, elote vendors, fishermen, ducks and the people who feed the ducks will have to find another place to go until 2013. When that fence comes down, Echo Park Lake will have cleaner water, wetlands and new landscaping and walkways – even a new Lotus Bed and a new home for the Lady of the Lake statue, according to city engineers.  Michelle Vargas with Public Works provides a brief timeline of what to expect at Echo Park Lake over the next several months:

  • Construction is expected to begin in spring 2011 and continue through end of 2012. Specific details of the schedule will be determined by the construction contractor after the project is awarded early next year.
  • The entire park area will be closed up to the sidewalk.  We will bring equipment to the site.  Therefore, the park will be fenced off for the safety of the neighborhood.
  • Our work will have no impacts to the Rec Center.

* Update: Tomorrow’s tour has been postponed until Nov. 6. The tour organizers decided to cancel the tour this afternoon because of rain in the forecast, Vargas said. Reservations are being taken for the tours in November and December.


  1. It seems to me that at a time when the city is broke, there is no immediate need to re-engineer the lake, which I am sure most people think is just fine as it is. Perhaps the money could be put to better use, like repairing streets and sidewalks.

  2. Hey Neighbors,
    I am going to attend a tour tomorrow morning which is hosted by the LA City Public Affairs Office. My understanding is that the money for this project was specifically mandated for environmental improvements (Prop # ?), and it really cannot be used elsewhere despite other infrastructure needs . Although I am not looking forward to two years of chain link fence around my favorite running route, I intend to look at the rehab positively. Improvements to the lake signal renewed vibrancy of Echo Park as a place to live, work, and shop. We are investing our patience for long-term community improvement.

  3. I’m going too – will be so sad with out this treasured public space for two years – but will keep the faith that it’s gonna be worth it. We’re so lucky to have it – LA needs more public spaces like the lake for sure.

  4. @fxdp: This is the reason they are closing the lake – “Echo Park Lake was identified in the 2006 California 303 (d) list as being impaired by algae, ammonia, copper, eutrophic (low oxygen) conditions, lead, odor, PCBs, pH, and trash. The lake is utilized today as a flood control basin to help manage peak flows during storm events. Restoration of the lake is essential to meet water quality standards as well as the needs of the surrounding community. ”

    While the lake and surrounding park are beautiful, the water is heavily polluted (all the fish in the lake have been found to have herpes, by the way). I mean have you ever looked in the water? It’s gross.

  5. I want to attend one of the tours, but am not able to tomorrow. The Google Docs document wouldn’t open … does anyone know the other two dates? Thanks and happy weekend!

  6. It is always so amusing to me how gorgeous the lake will show up in my photos, but if you look in the water, you see it is practically toxic sludge. But from a distance it looks great!

    Also, how many body parts/wrecked cars/pirate treasure chests do you think they’ll find when they finally drain the lake?!

  7. Its sad that the park is closing but its for all the right reasons. Here’s to a newly renovated park in 2012!

  8. This is great news, since the lake needs the cleanup, but hopefully the city can find a way to improve the streets, landscaping, undergrounding the utilities and fixing the sidewalks in the area as well.

  9. Dear friends at Echo Park Lake,

    Thank you for your excitement and support of the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project! We regret that due to unpredictable weather conditions, and in the interest of the participants’ safety, the tour scheduled for tomorrow, October 23, has been postponed.

    We are yet to determine a new date for our October tour, but we have two other tour dates: November 13 and December 11. The English tour will start at 9:30 a.m. and the tour conducted in Spanish will begin at 11:00 a.m. We will all convene at the corner of Park Avenue and Echo Park Avenue. For more information, please call (213) 978-0329.

    To follow up on ‘Metro Mary’s post above, this project is funded by Proposition O, the Clean Water Bond approved by Los Angeles voters in 2004 to fund stormwater improvement projects. These funds are already set aside to fund a total of 32 different stormwater projects across the city. For a complete list: http://tinyurl.com/3y7efop.

    Thank you again for your interest in the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation project. We will be in touch for new tour dates and other pertinent project info!

  10. I still can’t get past that $84 million price tag. Wow!

  11. What’s going to happen to the duck, Maria, from the OK Go videos?

  12. where exactly do they plan to dispose of the highly toxic garbage sludge water?

  13. People who care in Echo Park

    Attention: Echo park Lake was put on the impaired body of waters list because of algae, ammonia, copper, eutrophic (low oxygen) conditions, lead, odor, PCBs, pH, and trash. Keep in mind when they drain the lake these contaminants like lead, mercury, and pcbs will be expossed to the air. They will have to let the sedement dry so the trackters can have some tracktion to remove the sedament. If you live in echo park it can get windy, the seidament will go airbourn making a toxic dust cloud that can travle for miles. This will effect everybody espacially the citizens with respatory problem and our children.

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