The LA River is a sensitive subject for many of the gentrification-fearing people who live near it and for those who've worked for years and decades toward revitalizing it. So it's understandable that when it was revealed that Frank Gehry had been quietly working for months on a plan to restore all 51 miles of the river that those people and others were skeptical that he was the man for the job. To his doubters, Frank Gehry says, "I don't want to create a fight with them, but they should grow up," reports the New York Times.
Many long-time river advocates bristled at the news that Gehry was making a new plan for the river's restoration. Some worried that Gehry's involvement would somehow jeopardize federal funding for the $1-billion-plus revitalization of 11 miles of the waterway; others were miffed that the public was pretty much in the dark about Gehry's involvement for months. Whatever their reasons, the cold reception Gehry's gotten "from those people that I know and who I thought were smarter than that" has led him to "question their integrity ... Going forward, do I really want to work with those guys? I'm doing something that's going to be good and trying to be inclusive, and they are trying to cut me up before I even get out of the gate."
It had been reported last month that the first phase of Gehry's project, in which the architect was working pro bono, was probably nearing its end, and that the next stage of the project was going to be "intense." Gehry says these haters aren't going to help the project get anywhere. "For this thing to work out, all these people who are complaining, we are going to need them to be worker bees, not complaining bees. They are going to have to collaborate."
Gehry's plan for the river so far has focused on hydrology, trying to figure out a way that the river can be a place for recreation, but still be ready in case one of its increasingly rare but previously devastating floods were to occur. Gehry's also said he wants the river's classic concrete to stay put. So far, the work has been estimated to cost $100 million a mile for the length of the 51-mile river, says the NYT, and there's really no solid plan for where to get that money.
· Frank Gehry Draws Ire for Joining Los Angeles River Restoration Project [NYT]
· Frank Gehry Wants to Incorporate All That Concrete Into His LA River Revitalization Plan [Curbed LA]
· 8 New Things We Learned Today About Frank Gehry's Big Plans For Making Over the LA River [Curbed LA]