Echo Park - Officials today said that Echo Park Lake will reopen on May 26, about two months after it was closed following the removal of a large, homeless encampment that had spread across the park.
The reopening comes after the city allocated $1.1 million for repairs and improvements to the approximately 29-acre park, according to the office of 13th District Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, which announced the reopening.
In addition to upgrading public restrooms and repairing electrical and irrigation systems, officials will install security cameras in the park "to help ensure that Echo Park Lake remains safe and secure for all park users," according to a Council District 13 statement.
An estimated 200 people who had lived in the park in tents and other structures were relocated to hotel rooms and other forms of shelter over a period of three months before the closure, according to city officials. Many others moved to other encampments, according to advocates for the unhoused.
The removal of the homeless triggered street protests and tense confrontations between activists and police in the streets surrounding the park.
"When Echo Park Lake reopens, the City will ensure that it remains safe, clean, accessible, and secure for all who wish to use this shared public space," said O'Farrell in a statement. "The community can count on that.”
Update: O'Farrell in an interview with The Eastsider said that no one will be allowed to set up a tent or structure on the park grounds, which will have around-the-clock security when it reopens. There will be greater efforts to make the public aware that the park is open only from 5:30 am to 10:30 pm, he said.
Workers with Urban Alchemy will be available to conduct outreach to homeless persons and inform them of housing and shelter options.
"No one will be allowed to occupy space for personal use or profit in the park," O'Farrell said. "The community is ready to enjoy Echo Park Lake again."