The NELA River Collaborative project builds upon the growing momentum of efforts already underway to transform the Los Angeles River into a "riverfront district" and to create a focal point of community revitalization. For more information on the collaborative visit www.mylariver.org
It may not look like much now, but the Arroyo Seco Confluence -- where the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco meet -- could potentially be a crown jewel in the restoration of the Los Angeles River, if transformed to a fully realized Confluence Park.
Part of the Juan Baustista de Anza National Historic Trail, the area marks the Anza expedition of 1776 that led to the founding of a pueblo that would soon grow into Los Angeles. As Jenny Price points out in a 2010 L.A. Forum journal, not only does the site have historical value, but it is a "nexus" where Angelenos would inevitably meet.
"It's the meeting point for bikeways planned to Pasadena, to the Valley, and to downtown and into South L.A. The Gold Line ... will stop right here. The park connects up to the Taylor Yard and down to the Cornfield parks, which themselves connect to Elysian and Griffith Parks and to El Pueblo -- and would be an essential stop in the envisioned historic district in the central part of the city," wrote Price.
The site is one of three major riverside parks cited in the Los Angeles River Revitalization Masterplan, alongside the Los Angeles State Historic Park and Taylor Yard. But as Arroyo Seco Foundation's managing director Timothy Brick sadly sums up, "Progress at the confluence has lingered."
The park is envisioned to be a series of open space with outdoor classrooms, pedestrian and bike paths, and a restored riparian system. As of now, it's about a half-acre of land, sandwiched by the 5 freeway and San Fernando Road. Opened in 2011, the park was designed by Mia Lehrer + Associates, with a water feature designed by the same guys who brought us the waterworks at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Not only has development of the Confluence Park been delayed, but it looks like it's in danger of devolving. The Arroyo Seco Foundation recently found that the city plans to bring back an almost 2-acre tree storage yard back after its rehabilitation of the Riverside Drive bridge is done.
"It's an obstacle for the development of Confluence Park," said Brick."The confluence has such a tremendous potential, we should stop treating it as a low-grade maintenance facility." Brick points out that should the city move the tree yard back in, it would again spend money to remove it once plans move ahead for the park. The foundation launched a petition campaign last Wednesday urging Councilman Ed Reyes to find another location for the tree storage yard to make way for the Confluence Park.
Read the petition here.
Top: The opening of Confluence Park, 2011. Photo by Justin Cram/KCET Departures