The LA River isn't the only watery comeback kid in town--the Ballona Wetlands, which run south of Marina del Rey, is also getting a restoration, along with a big interpretive center. The Department of Fish and Wildlife, which owns most of the wetlands, is working on a restoration plan for the wetlands that would also potentially make them more accessible to the public; it was also set to sign a deal today with the Anneberg Foundation to develop a 46,000 square foot building on about an acre of land east of Lincoln Boulevard. This is land that the state bought from the Playa Vista developers several years ago. According to the Daily Breeze, F&W hopes construction will start as early as 2014 and the center could potentially include an auditorium, classrooms, a public lobby, animal exhibits, animal care facilities, an adoption program, vet facilities, retail space, and parking and offices. (As they point out, the plan is somewhat similar to one for a pet center the Annenberg proposed for Rancho Palos Verdes a few years back. That project was ultimately shot down by locals.)
But a development on some ecologically dicey wetlands? You better believe there's some backlash: "I'm shocked and disappointed that the Annenberg Foundation would even entertain the idea of destroying land acquired for wildlife habitat and using it for a building, a restaurant and a parking lot," the executive director of the Ballona Institute tells the LA Times (that group has also opposed some of the restoration plans). The Friends of Ballona Wetlands counters "that the acre proposed for the building site is in poor condition and that Annenberg plans to improve the adjoining ball fields as part of the project."
· Ballona Wetlands interpretive center: New information revealed [Daily Breeze]
· Annenberg Foundation to build nature center at Ballona Wetlands [LAT]
· Ballona Wetlands Getting Restoration, But Sierra Club Hates It [Curbed LA]