Landscape Architect & Specifier News

JUL 2014

LASN is a photographically oriented, professional journal featuring topics of concern and state-of-the-art projects designed or influenced by registered Landscape Architects.

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96 Landscape Architect and Specifier News I n f o r m a t i o n R e q u e s t # 5 4 0 Some of the L.A. River (left) looks like the "Glendale Narrows," which flows over an earthen riverbed, but much of it is all concrete channeling and hardly river like. t ImAGeS: WIkIpedIA CommoNS Army Corps Recommends $1.08 Billion Plan for L.A. River Restoration Congress Must Now Approve It Good news for Los Angeles. No, not Shelly Sterling's binding contract to sell the L.A. Clippers to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. This deal involves half the money, but will affect a much larger cross section of the L.A. population. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through Jo-Ellen Darcy, the assistant secretary for civil works, has recommended approval of a $1.08 billion habitat restoration for an 11-mile stretch of the L.A. River. This recommendation will now go before Congress for its approval. In 2007, the L.A. River was designated an amenity of the city's master plan. Since then, cities along the river south of Los Angeles to Long Beach have been working on adding parks along the river and creating "naturalized" wetlands. In April, the Army Corps informed L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti it would recommend a $453-million plan to restore 588 acres of habitat and widen the river near Glassell Park to form marshlands. This limited proposal prompted Garcetti and other city officials to step up their lobbying efforts to transform the concrete river corridor into something more life like and prone to recreation. Garcetti has taken his plea to Washington, D.C., arguing a river restoration is the right thing for the area's ecology, an obvious plus for the economy and a real benefit for the youth of L.A. who are growing up with a "river" that is essentially a 51-mile concrete flood control channel (circa 1930s) from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach and the Pacific Ocean. The $1.08 billion would go to an 11-mile section of the river from just north of downtown L.A. through Elysian Park. Elysian Park is in Central Los Angeles, and includes Chavez Ravine, home to the L.A. Dodgers. The plan calls for tearing up three miles of concrete and widening the river to produce river terraces. It would be a great start to revitalizing the river corridor, if only Congress will give its blessing. Garcetti specified most of the money would come from the Army Corps's budget, with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency "looking to aggressively bring money to the table." Additional monies would come from local and state sources. It's estimated the project could bring more than $5 billion in investment over the next 10 to 15 years, and generate up to 18,000 jobs.

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