Plan would transform Los Angeles River into recreational area

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A long stretch of the Los Angeles River could be getting a state-of-the art makeover, transforming into miles of recreational areas and community space.

"Currently it's mostly a flood control channel. Sometimes it's a backdrop for Hollywood's blockbuster movies, but we have communities that live along the river that could really be taking advantage of the opportunity of having this asset in their community," said project leader Mark Stanley with the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy.

The Lower L.A. Revitalization Plan Would transform 19 miles of the L.A. River from Vernon to Long Beach. In all, there are 145 enhancement projects planned, all designed to boost the communities along the river

"It really would be an extension of their backyard in terms of recreation, in terms of strolling in the evening, the opportunity for businesses to be located along the river, Stanley said. "The southeast is the most park-poor area within Los Angeles County. This is a major asset to bring parks into the lower half of the L.A. River.

Several signature projects are also on the table, including multi-use trails and paths, and "bridge parks."

"Bridges don't have to just be for automobiles and trucks to cross. Bridges can be an opportunity to put a park on it. All we have to do is widen the bridge and make it more pedestrian friendly. Bicyclists can go across and people can actually sit on the bridge. We can bring in some vegetation. It would really connect both sides of the river," said Stanley.

It about took two years and more than 100 meetings for project directors to gather public input, and they want more as they move forward.

Some of the smaller projects are expected to start this year.
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