Greenway to be Built at Water Reclamation Plant by the L.A. River

Every little bit counts, especially when it comes to open space. If all goes according to plan, this June, Angelenos will be welcoming another greenway right by the Los Angeles River.

Dubbed the "Los Angeles-Glendale Water Reclamation Plant Open Space Greenway," the 0.4-acre curved park lies on the east bank of the Los Angeles River just off the Colorado exit below the 5 freeway.

Inspired by the positive feedback from the North Atwater Park Expansion and Creek
Restoration project
, Councilman Tom LaBonge filed a motion requesting the Bureau of Engineering (BoE), the Department of Recreation and Parks, and the Bureau of Sanitation (BoS) to assess if any land south of North Atwater Park by the Los Angeles Glendale Water Reclamation Plant could be spared to create open space. Their search revealed "a bunch of grass next door," said to Gene Greene, landscape architect with the BoS and the director of the Japanese Garden at Tillman Water Reclamation Plant.

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The fence will be removed once the greenway is completed | Courtesy of the L.A. Department of Public Works

Unlike some city projects that may take years to complete, this endeavor only took a few months to come together. All of the resources needed to realize the project were sourced in-house. Greene provided the landscape design, informed by his decades of experience maintaining the luscious grounds at the Japanese Garden. The plants used for landscaping also came from the Japanese Garden nursery. The total cost for the project is approximately $40,000, funded wholly by the BoS.

Once finished, the original 12-foot security fence will be replaced by an open greenway 275 feet in length and 90 feet wide. It will use a regional native plant palette such as California Buckwheat, Flannel Bush, and Black Cottonwood. Stormwater that falls on the land will be captured on site, treated and returned to the land to irrigate the plants, said Greene.

Educational signage will acquaint visitors to the reclamation process and the Los Angeles River. Bench seating will be installed alongside natural decomposed granite pathways, inviting walkers and joggers a chance for respite.

Though arguably a smaller piece of the puzzle, the open greenway captures the creative, enterprising spirit at work by the Los Angeles River. It is a project that makes use of what resources are available and ensures Angelenos have access to as much green as we can eke out of the city.

Plans for the Open Space Green Way | Courtesy of the L.A. Department of Public Works

Top: Bird's Eye View of the L.A.-Glendale Reclamation Plant and the site of the future Open Space Greenway. Courtesy of the L.A. Department of Public Works.

About the Author

Carren is an art, architecture and design writer and an avid explorer of Los Angeles. Her work has been spotted on Core77, Dwell, Surface Asia, and Fast Co.Design. You can find her online and on Twitter. 
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