Unanimous City Council vote marks major milestone in extraordinary plan to revitalize the L.A. River.
LOS ANGELES—Mayor Eric Garcetti today commended the Los Angeles City Council for a unanimous vote to approve the purchase of 42 acres of property at the center of plans to revitalize the Los Angeles River. The G2 parcel is the final remnant of the 250-acre Taylor Yard owned by Union Pacific Railroad.
“This riverfront parcel is the crown jewel in our plan to enliven the Los Angeles River so that Angelenos can reclaim access to its natural wonder and rich history,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I made the acquisition of this site a top priority, because 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. I’m grateful to the City Council for their visionary approach and spirit of collaboration in getting this done for the people of Los Angeles.”
Taylor Yard is on the east bank of the L.A. River, north of Downtown in the community of Cypress Park. The surrounding parcels at Taylor Yard have already been developed into Rio de Los Angeles State Park, the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies, and the Taylor Yard Transit Village. The G2 parcel will connect Rio de Los Angeles State Park with the Bowtie parcel, another State Park site — opening up more than one mile of direct riverfront access. Mayor Garcetti worked closely with State Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León to secure $25 million in state funding toward the City’s purchase and development of the G2 parcel.
With today’s Council vote, the City will move forward to allocate nearly $60 million.
“My colleagues and I were relentless in making sure the City negotiated a fiscally responsible purchase and sales agreement to acquire the Taylor Yard G2 site,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “The Council action today will enable the public to control the largest available piece of property along our Los Angeles River. Parcel G2 is a keystone for habitat restoration identified in our Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. I commend the members of my Arts, Parks, and L.A. River Committee, the Chief Legislative Analyst, the City Administrative Officer, the City Attorney’s office, and the Bureau of Engineering for their sound collaboration in getting us to this critical point.”
The G2 parcel is prioritized in both the City’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Los Angeles River Ecosystem Restoration project, which was approved by the U.S. Congress in 2016. Because of its size and location along a soft-bottomed stretch of the river, G2 can help restore riparian habitat, while also providing expansive new public views into Downtown and to the iconic Griffith Observatory and Hollywood Sign landmarks.
“It has been a process to secure the G2 site in Council District 1, but we are finally at the finish line,” said Councilmember Gil Cedillo. “Acquiring the G2 parcel is the most integral part of the L.A. River Revitalization Master Plan, for it is the only direct access point to the river from the communities I represent. This a huge win for NELA and the beginning of the future for the L.A. River as we imagine it.”
Escrow is expected to close by March 1, 2017. The City will then begin planning for beneficial public site use and site remediation in coordination with the State’s Department of Toxic Substances Control.
“Today’s action is an important piece of the greater puzzle that will eventually result in a fully renewed and revitalized L.A. River winding through our city,” said Councilmember and Budget and Finance Committee Chair Paul Krekorian. “This parcel will give Angelenos acres of additional green space in the basin and complement the great work we’re doing to improve river access in the San Fernando Valley.”
“As an active member of both the River and Budget committees, I am proud that we took this huge step,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “For more than 20 years, starting with my days working for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, I have been trying to help transform the L.A. river from merely a flood control channel into a linear greenway and river park. Progress on that vision has been steady, but this purchase represents a quantum jump.”