Echo Park adjusts to life without a lake

Demas Gutierrez and his three year old son, Demas, Jr., hopped off the Echo Park Avenue Dash bus this afternoon and crossed the street to visit to the playground at Echo Park Lake. Instead of watching his son play by the lake, Gutierrez watched the boy try and scramble up a  six-foot high, chain-link fence to get into the park, which was sealed off beginning today for an approximately two-year-long clean up.  “He couldn’t believe it,” Gutierrez said of his son when he discovered the park was closed. Instead of heading to the big playground on the north end of the park, the Gutierrez walked his son to a small playground by the 101 Freeway and planned a trip to MacArthur Park to enjoy a lake view. There were plenty of other people in Echo Park today who had to adjust or abandon their regular visits to the park after it was wrapped and locked up behind a green screen (which had already been tagged).

The installation of the fence, which began on Tuesday and was completed late Thursday, forced many joggers, walkers and other regulars accustomed to traveling on the wide path at the water’s edge to the narrow sidewalk on the perimeter of the park. Some folks contemplated new routes and routines as others stood on tippy toes and leaned against the fence to gaze at the park, where ducks and pigeons roamed the walking paths and lawns. Many referred to the closed off section of the park on the other side of fence as “the inside.”

“I don’t like it,” said 52-year-old Marcos Garcia, who was jogging on the sidewalk as part of a five-day-a-week ritual. “You don’t feel free. It’s better on the inside.”

Michela Musto, who can see the lake from her home, exchanged greetings with Garcia as she walked her dog, Venice, on the sidewalk.  Not only is the sidewalk narrow, but there is also more traffic noise and there are no trash cans, an important amenity for dog walkers like herself. “It’s not as much fun,” said Musto, who might consider taking Venice for a walk in Elysian Park more often. “She will do fine. It’s me that will have a hard time adjusting.”

P.S.: Some vehicle owners who live near Echo Park Lake will also have to adjust their routine. Beginning the week of July 25, no parking will be allowed on the west side of Echo Park Avenue from Park Avenue to Laguna Avenue from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., according to an update on EchoParkLake.org

Related Post:

  • Lake Cam: July 25, 2011. Patch


  1. It’s sad, I know so many people that live around the lake that are now looking to give up their apartments and move. I hope they decide to stay in Echo Park. People just don’t want to deal with what they know will be a job that will take over two years that could realistically be done in under a single year.

  2. That’s the City of LA for you!

  3. It took a similar amount of time last time they did it, about 30 years ago (that time is when they added the fountain, to try to keep the lake clean). All construction projects seem to take way longer than they should, and you ALWAYS see them sitting around for long periods with little or nothing going on. Thus, this will take at least two years.

    They have done this project about every 25-30 years.

  4. MARK your right, and to add to this money grabbing mess because clearly there are people who are paid to support this project and make it sound less of a big deal to post here, then with the impacts it will have to you or anyone living around the lake and the community.
    this is just a cut and paste of what I had posted here on the other thread.

    The poor animals are expandeble assets when it comes to $65 million dollars. this is what happens when people dont come to the meetings and see where the bull crap of all this wast of money is comming from. funny thing is they have no maintanance budget when the work is completed…do I hear another cha ching again when the lake goes to crap again in another 10 years and more money will have to be spent.

    this plan is set up to fail and what about the historical aspect of the lake? all this expenisive foiliage is changing the lakes origional apeal of open water for over 100 years, good buy to fishing… your health and realestate will be compromised…I have have done my research on the toxic levels of the lake and cant wait for them to be air born.

    Silver lake and the Hollywood resevoir are the only man made lakes in Los Angeles. Mc, Arthur park, Lincoln, hollenbeck and other small lakes in LA once were natural lakes, until human intervention sought to improve it and then in todays reality only came to destroy it.

    Theres is no doubt in my mind and I am not argueing the fact that the lake needs to be repaired, but had the City of Los Angeles not mis managed our tax paying dollars the lake would have been properly maintained, this is the product as with any product that you buy, if you dont maintain it…IT WILL BREAK DOWN!!!

    But to spend 65 million and expect it to be done in 2 years come on…the echo park recreation center on bellevue was to be 2 years and it took 5 and its still not done, let alone the echo park indoor pool was another 2 yr lie and that also took another 5 years…I mean come on people when are you going to get your facts st8.

    I will not support a project that will compromise the health of my family, neighbors and friends like this will, once this lake bottom goes air born all will be impacted…why isnt anyone thinking of the logic here, our rainy reasong is 6 months and can u imagine how long its going to take for that bottom to dry for the equipment to gain traction…This is nothing to the 405 freeway, that has no impact to the natural enviornment other then the selfish conveniance of those who dont care about anything…

    Dont beleive everything you hear, because if its not in paper its not going to happen. I should know I have been in touch with these run arounders and I know what is going on here…

    LA politics gotta love it.
    see you all there who posted here and bring some friends if this issue really concerns you enough so you expressed it here first.

    July 20 at the Episcopal Church 840 echo park ave @ 5:30pm LA CA 90026

  5. LEt the whining begin!!!

  6. Its a drag , yes , and 30 years ago they drained the lake , but they never fenced off the whole park up to the side walks , HUGE difference .

    Still , we have to go with the flow , we should still be grateful that we live in Echo Park !

    Its not Park-magedon !
    Get over it !

  7. Greatful??? For what? Its public land anyways it belongs to all of the taxpayers, its not like I have to thank the City of LA for cleaning it up, there accountable for the lakes present condition. If they didnt spend all of our money where it doesnt need to be our streets and parks would look allot better then they are now. Go with the flow huh? ok so lets all just jump off the bridge because theres a nice cushion on the bottom…

    get real people do you really think with the california budget that this money couldnt go towards balancing that budget and better education for the future generations? should’nt they all have a fare shot like we did when we grew up?

  8. “Anyways” yes , grateful !

    We are not running out of food or water or dodging land mines !
    Yes , it sucks that the funds could have gone to better use like educatuion , but at this point , with the park fenced off , what are you going to do about it?

    Yes , go with the flow , or if you can’t appreciate living here or anywhere , than move west of the 405 and hopefully they cut the westside off for good !

    Echo Parker since 1962

  9. All I have to say is Whiners, there will always be Whiners. Get over it is only temporary. Bunch of cry babies….

  10. It’s a joke , 30 year was the last time they tried to remodel the lake , the city did not close the park . I was only 12 years old , I would drivwe my bike through the empty lake , What I dont understand 2years to complete the project ? WOW some ones being paid off What A joke !

  11. Hey Mario next think you know theyll come back with trying to do this to the parks hence ” budget Cuts ” bunch of crap… click on the link below


  12. FYI, the Echo Park Lake rehab is not paid for by any City funds. It’s all Proposition O (Water quality improvement) money.

  13. There are worse things, but it’s still a bummer. I absolutely loved walking around the lake, and I’m curious about what they will find. A lot of people are complaining about the mesh but it’s better than having to look at ugly construction rigs and a dried lake bed.

    However, it seems the project might be poorly planned or disorganized. I feel like if this were a high-profile or more revenue-generating area it would be done in a year, not two.

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