The Real Deal Los Angeles

City Council votes in favor of billion-dollar LA River restoration plan

The 'Alternative 20' plan was much lauded by community activists

July 05, 2016 10:30AM

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The Los Angeles River in Downtown L.A. and Council member Mitch O'Farrell

The Los Angeles River in Downtown L.A. and Council member Mitch O’Farrell

The Los Angeles River is about to get a $1 billion makeover.

The L.A. City Council has unanimously approved a plan to restore 11 miles of the river between Downtown L.A. and the San Fernando Valley.

The plan, known as Alternative 20, was one of three considered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Curbed reported.

The vote Wednesday was a big win for community activists, who worried that the recruitment of architect Frank Gehry to design the river master plan would delay the restoration process.

Marissa Christiansen, senior policy director with Friends of the L.A. River, an organization that raised nearly $1 million for the study that led to Alternative 20, told Curbed that her organization “could not be more pleased.”

Under the redevelopment plan, the city will have to dish out more than $980 million and the remainder of the costs will be covered by the federal government. The biggest expense will be acquiring the land around the river in order to restore the surrounding ecosystem.

But the city will not have to pay up front. Council member Mitch O’Farrell told Curbed the plan is to work in phases.

“We’ve approached this in a way to get the low hanging fruit,” he said, starting with land by the river that the city already owns, including the Central Service Yard north of Atwater Village.

“The river is the heart and soul of Los Angeles,” he said before the vote. [Curbed]Cathaleen Chen