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Tujunga Wash restoration a delight to locals

August 15, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
There are native plants, a carved out walkway and a spot for a flowing river in the winter. It's all part of what the Army Corps of Engineers had envisioned in restoring a section of the Tujunga Wash.

"We actually did the construction, broke ground on this about six months ago and completed [it]. It was an empty lot, there was a lot of trash, it was an area basically that people didn't want to be in, and now we've transformed it," said Col. Mark Toy.

The 3,000 feet of scenic walkway was opened to the public Wednesday, and from sunrise to sunset people stopped in to enjoy the view.

Valley Glen resident Loren Cross was impressed with the work.

"I'm very happy because now I can actually walk my dog, I feel much safer now that it's more beautiful. Living here 12 years, it's been great for me to see the transformation," he said.

The project could be a window into what's to come. Right now, the Army Corps of Engineers is studying a 9-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River through downtown to transform it into something like the Tujunga Wash.

"There are opportunities, maybe not here, but in other parts along the L.A. River, we could actually do some recreation," said Toy.

Recreation like kayaking, which has become very popular on the Sepulveda Basin since the Army Corps started the program there last year.

Officials say they will keep the public off the waters during the dangerous rainy season, but their goal is to use projects like the Tujunga Wash to clean up the landscape and bring people back to the river.

"We want to see people walking here at night, we want to see people walking here during the day, enjoying what it's like to be in an area that's restored, that really you're in an urban area too," said Toy.