2 years after closing, Louis Robidoux Nature Center Jurupa Valley to reopen

JURPA VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- It has been two years since the Louis Robidoux Nature Center has had a visitor come through its boarded-up doors or seen any schoolchildren set foot on the numerous trails along the Santa Ana River.

"It is pretty depressing when you look at it completely empty and there is nothing going on. We remember people able to bike and hike and just go around the trails," said Eric Rubalcava.

Two years ago, the nature center closed, but a plan is in place to restore and reopen it for the public. A consortium is partnering with the Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District to breathe new life into the park.

"We found partners in the Louis Robidoux Nature Consortium, which is a group of five members which will be re-investing in the property, turning it back into an education center and reopening the property for public access," said Kyla Brown with Riverside County Regional Park and Open Space District.

For the next five years, the Huerta del Valley Ontario Community Garden, Inland Empire Resource Conservation District, Sunshine Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation, the Orange County Water District and San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District will manage the property.

The plan calls for leasing the property for $1 and pouring a large amount of money and manpower into restoring the park. The group also plans to incorporate wildlife rehabilitation and experimental farming in its rehabilitation of the property.

"Everything from investing in farming on the land, investing in the facility, and investing in the Sunny Slope channel... to restore sucker habitat," said Brown referring to the freshwater fish native to the Santa Ana River.

Residents in the area are looking forward to having the park reopen.

"It is good for the kids, it's good for everybody," said Floyd Andrews.

Andrews plans on volunteering to help with restoring the nature center.

On Friday, Aug. 16, from 5-7 p.m. the Louis Robidoux Nature Consortium will host a public meeting on the property to discuss their plans and recruit volunteers. The nature center is located at 5370 Riverview Dr., Jurupa Valley.
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