Planned Sunnynook River Park

July 29, 2008 § 2 Comments

Los Angeles City Councilmember Tom LaBonge and the city Bureau of Engineering held a meeting tonight to share plans for a new 3.4 acre park on the L.A. River. It’s located in the elongated property bounded by the river, the Sunnynook Footbridge, the 5 Freeway, and the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge.

It’s a $1.7M dollar project, with $1.35M coming from the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and another $350K from a Caltrans Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation grant. That’s fairly cheap for a park this size, mostly because there’s no land acquisition costs – as the site is publicly owned (looks like it’s partially Caltrans and partially County Flood Control District.)

Draft designs presented via powerpoint (the slide show is available on the city website) show a habitat park with plenty of native trees and shrubs, some interpretive signage, a small outdoor classroom, berms to mitigate freeway noise, a picnic area, and a small depressed swale area that will collect and infiltrate stormwater. Mercifully, there’s no new parking. Folks can access the site from the bike trail or the Sunnynook Footbridge. If need be, they can park at the nearby Griffith Park Rec Center parking lot and walk across the ped bridge over the freeway.

Community members present seemed fairly supportive of the concept, though a few did express concerns about graffiti and homeless persons. Another concern expressed was that the city hasn’t worked on sites closer to where folks live on the northeast side of the river. After the meeting, one longterm river supporter expressed concern to me that the site is planned to be used as a construction staging area for the city’s planned widening of the Glendale-Hyperion Bridge and that this could put much of the new park out of commission for a few years.

The city is taking comments on the draft plan now through August 8th. Learn more about the proposal by downloading the slideshow, which includes contact information details for your comments.

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