LA Approves $1 Billion River Restoration Plan

     LOS ANGELES (CN) — The city of Los Angeles on Wednesday approved a plan to restore an 11-mile stretch of the LA River.
     The so-called Alternative 20 Plan for a proposed LA River Ecosystem Restoration Project was unanimously approved by the City Council, Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement.
     Garcetti congratulated the council for approving the $1.3 billion restoration project — collaboration between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the city of Los Angeles.
     “Today’s vote is the result of more than a decade of hard work — and takes us another step forward in our effort to transform a waterway with a rich history and great potential for our city’s future,” Garcetti said.
     In a fiscal impact statement, the city said it will cover the cost of land, easements, rights-of-way, relocation and disposal. The city said it estimates that will cost $771 million, or about 57 percent of the total cost of the project.
     As the project’s co-sponsor, the city has budgeted an additional $200,783 for design and construction costs for ecosystem restoration and $9,027,000 in design and construction costs for recreation, for a total contribution of $980,835,000.
     A larger plan is also in the works after the city announced last year that famed architect Frank Gehry was working with LA River Revitalization Corp. to restore and bring green space along the 51-mile channel.     
     The group Friends of the Los Angeles River has been involved in efforts to clean up and revitalize the river for decades, and its president Lewis MacAdams was part of a group that traveled to Washington to push for the plan.
     LA River senior policy director Marissa Christiansen called the City Council’s vote a “major victory in river revitalization.” The next step, she said, would be a project-by-project budget appropriation by the city and the Army Corps of Engineers.
     “We are very excited to see this once-in-a-generation moment occur. Never before has the Los Angeles River gained such traction in moving toward a restored and revitalized natural resource,” Christiansen said in a phone interview. “And we look forward to continuing to be a partner with the city and all the other involved parties to make sure it becomes reality.”

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