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How Do You Envision a Riverfront District?: Jill Sourial

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On April 27, 2013, the Northeast L.A. Riverfront Collaborative hosted the River Bike + Walk Spectacular at Marsh Park in Elysian Valley. During the festivities, community members and visitors shared their stories and experiences of the river as part of the KCET Departures StoryShare event. Here are their stories.

Name: Jill Sourial
Occupation: Environmental Policy

What has been your experience with the L.A. River?

I worked for eight and half years with Councilman Reyes who chaired the Ad Hoc River Committee and we put together a lot of the work for the L.A. River Revitalization Masterplan bringing together a lot of the stakeholders. We worked on the bike path, on parks and open space, on many of the bridges that span the river, on water quality issues. It's kind of an organizing tool for everything that goes on around. Affordable housing and economic development were things people wanted to see so we spent a lot of time trying to craft a plan that touches on all those issues.

How would you envision a "Riverfront District" in Northeast L.A.?

I would envision a riverfront that to some extent is a little bit blank canvas that allows people to fill in with their own creativity. I think it should have some amenities so that people feel welcome, but at the same time it should offer the opportunity to play and enjoy the river in ways we can't always imagine if we tried to plan ahead.

What kind of recreation would you like to see in the river?

I think recreation activities that allow people to get in and see the perspective from being down in the river. I got to do the kayaking when we had it in Sepulveda Basin, it changes your whole environment, so I would love it if people could get in.

If there was one place in Northeast L.A. that you would change, where would it be and how would you change it?

If there was one spot I could change in Northeast Los Angeles along the river it would be the parcel at Taylor Yard. It is kind of that one big space that stands between the community and the river. I would love to see us terrace back some of the cement, create some habit, create a place where people can get closer to the river. And I think it would really change what you see in Cypress Park now and it would make a huge a difference all up and down the river.

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