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City votes to acquire 41 acres known as the ‘crown jewel’ of LA River’s revitalization

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It’s key to a much bigger plan to restore 11 miles of river habitat

The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously Friday to spend $59.3 million to acquire land that Mayor Eric Garcetti has dubbed the “crown jewel” of the Los Angeles River’s revitalization.

Known as G2, the property measures 41 acres on the river’s east bank in Cypress Park and is key to a much bigger plan to restore 11 miles of river habitat. As one of seven parcels that comprise the Taylor Yard, a 247-acre former freight switching facility owned by Union Pacific Railroad, the soil is contaminated and will have to be cleaned up—a project that could take several years.

But once finished, “It will create much-needed public open space in the middle of the city, provide extensive habitat restoration, and serve as a key access point for local communities to connect to the river,” Garcetti said in a statement.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell said in the Los Angeles Times that, “In order to do anything along the river, we must control the property.”

G2 will connect Rio de Los Angeles State Park with the Bowtie parcel, which is also owned by the state. That opens up more than one mile of direct riverfront access, said Tony Arranaga, a spokesman for O’Farrell.

It’s the lynchpin for Alternative 20, the ambitious plan to restore 11 miles of the river from Griffith Park to Downtown, said Marissa Christiansen, senior policy director of Friends of Los Angeles River, which has pushed for the city to buy the land.

“This is the first step in making that vision a reality,” she said.

The city has 30 days to close escrow.