This summer was already shaping up to be another exciting one for the LA River, but it just got awesomer. The most awesome. The Army Corps of Engineers will announce today that it's changed its mind and will recommend a $1-billion plan to make over the LA River—the most comprehensive and expensive plan studied— instead of a far less ambitious, far cheaper plan they backed last fall. (Mayor Garcetti had made it a personal crusade to change the Corps' mind.) While this doesn't exactly mean that the billion-dollar option will get funded, it does mean that it's well on its way. Congress has the final decision, but is likely to listen to the expertise of the Corps.
The Army Corps-approved proposal calls for an overhaul/restoration/bikeification of 11 miles of the river, from Downtown up through Elysian Park, that will allow more opportunities for everyone (especially those in river-adjacent 'hoods) to use and enjoy the river. It would also include a connection to the under-construction Los Angeles State Historic Park in Chinatown.
If the billion-dollar plan (previous called the Alternative 20) is approved, the federal government, the city, and the state would split the costs of the project. The first of the money could come as soon as next year, the mayor says, with "jackhammers on concrete not long after that," reports the LA Times.
$1 billion is a lot of money, but city officials estimate that a more attractive river, and the recreation that would take place on and around it, could bring in more than $5 billion over the next 10 to 15 years and generate tens of thousands of jobs. Part of that revenue is expected to come in the form of riverfront real estate, and the gentrification on the horizon has already started to worry some who live in the mostly working-class neighborhoods adjacent to the water.
· Why Can't LA Have a Big, Comprehensive LA River Restoration? [Curbed LA]
· Huge LA River Restoration Report Recommends $453MM Plan [Curbed LA]