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Forgotten Space: Elysian Park and Radio Hill Gardens

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And now, to our guest blogger Eric Richardson of Blogdowntown, who is gracing Curbed this week.

Those of us here in Downtown are frequently heard clamoring for more park space, and rightfully so, given our lack of non-parking lot open space. The city's Rec and Parks department is currently wrapping up a needs assessment process that's sure to identify a general public clamor for more spots to walk the dog and throw a Frisbee around. While that's all good and well, quicker wins may be possible by simply taking a look at the forgotten spaces the city already has.

Radio Hill Gardens is a space that you'll be hard-pressed to find mention of on city websites. Created in the mid-1990s to highlight native plants, today a visitor is hard-pressed to tell the difference between "garden" and weed. A 2006 Draft Master Plan for Elysian Park called the Garden the "most isolated and underutilized piece of Elysian Park" and noted that "maintenance to the native plant garden is poor and has become a low priority to an understaffed department."

So—PSA time—perhaps the path to renewing our park system is to first actually make some good out of what we've got?

Here now, two upcoming park related events: On Saturday, March 15th, the Echo Park Historical Society and the Citizen's Committee to Save Elysian Park will co-host their Elysian Park Walking Tour. Information can be found on EPHS's Walking Tours page; The tour focuses on the less-used eastern half of the park, and is a great background on the history of the park and the challenges it now faces. Then, Tuesday, March 18th, the issue of Elysian Reservoir's drainage problem goes to the DWP Board of Commissioners, who are scheduled to make what may well be a final decision in the case. The meeting is at 1:30 PM, open to the public.

And if you want to check out Radio Hill Gardens yourself, and you should, it's just north of Chinatown, between the Cornfield and the freeway. Gates are off of Stadium Way and Amador Street, both just east of the 110. Neither has any parking, and neither is open to let you drive up the hill. Best things come, no pain no gain, and so on.