Boyle Heights — In a park poor neighborhood, Hollenbeck Park serve as a much needed urban oasis. But the lake that occupies a big chunk of the park is suffering from many problems, from poor water quality (thanks in part to polluted runoff from the adjacent 5 Freeway) to soil erosion that has undermined the banks and sidewalks around the lake.  Now, city officials are looking at an ambitious project to fix the lake’s long list of problems.

The city’s Bureau of Engineering is currently sorting through public comments as it works on a draft environmental impact report due in August. That report for the Hollenbeck Park Lake Rehabilitation project will refine the concepts presented in an initial study and explore the impact on the neighborhood. In many ways the rehab will resemble work at Echo Park Lake, which was drained, cleaned up and reopened five years ago as part of a water-quality improvement project.

Some of the improvements being studied:

  • Replace drinking and potable water now used to refill the 4.3-acre lake and irrigate surrounding park with recycled water, storm runoff and water diverted from the L.A. River
  • Install an underwater pump to filter and disinfect the water used to refill the lake and irrigate the park
  • Add more floating wetlands and build a narrow band of wetlands along the shoreline to help filter and clean the water
  • Install a new liner on the lakebed to reduce seepage and algae
  • Abandon a sewer pipe that runs underneath the lake and build a new one that circles around the park

How much is this going to cost? When will it happen?

A 2016 report on the project estimated it would cost about $33 million. The Eastsider has contacted the Bureau of Public Works for an update.

The plan for now, pending review and approval of the final environmental reports, is to start the year-long construction project in September 2019. The lake would have to be drained, dirt and sediment trucked out and the portions of the park closed to the public during construction.

You can keep up with the project at the city’s Storm Water site.

Project site plan | Hollenbeck Park Lake Rehab Initial Study

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