ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A controversial chain-link fence that surrounds Echo Park Lake is scheduled to be removed by March 31, Los Angeles Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez announced Friday.
"Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of a dark moment in the history of our city - the controversial sweep of Echo Park Lake," the councilman said in a statement. "Since then, the temporary chain-link fence that was erected to surround the park has become a divisive issue among many in our community."
Two years ago, protesters clashed with police when nearly 200 people living in homeless encampments were removed. The park was then temporarily closed for repairs and the fence has remained up since it reopened.
"Since we were sworn in, we've reiterated our intent to remove the fence surrounding Echo Park Lake, which does not address the actual causes of what led to the large encampment and dangerous conditions at the park," Hugo Soto-Martinez said.
Some residents say the fence has made them feel more comfortable taking evening walks and spending time at the park.
"When we didn't have a fence and the encampments were here, instead of joy, laughter, children playing and people walking, all you saw was drug abuse, constant fights, prostitution -- you name it," Nancy Ochoa, a local resident, said earlier this month.
"To take a fence down, you cannot keep this park clean, you cannot keep it secure," said Gil Mangaoang.
Others support the move to take down the fence.
"I think the fence has been an eyesore for the community," said Tony Corella. "I think it's far worse to divide and not solve the actual problem."
That problem, Corella said, is the need for more affordable housing.
Soto-Martinez said he was working on obtaining hotel vouchers for unhoused people who try to relocate to the park.