Federal officials today announced a $500,000 grant to help pay for the initial stages of the costly task of cleaning up a former rail yard and turning it into parkland.
The half-million dollar grant is a fraction of the estimated $120 million that will be needed just to clean up the toxins from the site of the 42-acre Taylor Yard River Park on the border of Cypress Park and Glassell Park, according to preliminary estimates. The money from the Environmental Protection Agency is one of the many funding sources the city is try to tap into to pay for the clean up and development of the park that will be years in the making.
The grant comes from funds to clean up contaminated brownfields in preparation for development -- either commercial or public uses. In this case, the $500,000 is to be used for only 12.5-acres of the site, according to a government summary. "The site is contaminated with metals, arsenic, and volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds co-mingled with petroleum hydrocarbons, said the summary.
The 42-acre site, once owned by the Union Pacific Railroad, sits between the L.A. River and Rio de Los Angeles State Park, with tracks used by Metrolink commuter trains separating the two properties.
The future parkland was purchased by the city for about $50 million. But the cost of actually cleaning up the contaminated soil and building the park could top $200 million.said LA Sanitation and Environment General Manager and Executive
“This project will bring about improved water quality for the Los Angeles River and our other watersheds, as well as enhance our biodiversity,” said LA Sanitation and Environment General Manager Enrique C. Zaldivar in a statement.
Officials said the estimates are subject to change as they refine and finally select a concept to develop the park. "We are still in the process of determining the design of the site and the associated clean-up costs for that design," said Heather Johnson, a spokeswoman for the L.A. Department of Public Works.
One potential source of funds is the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The park is part of the agency's LA River Ecosystem Restoration Project, which comes with potential funding. "The amount of potential federal funding from the USACE is still to be determined," said Johnson.