With the closure and clean up of Echo Park Lake now underway, community members are face to face with the reality of a two-year lake and park closure. On Wednesday evening, city and project officials hosted a town hall meeting at St. Paul’s Cathedral overlooking the lake to review and address issues ranging from concerns about wildlife to what happens if bodies are found after the lake is drained (Answer: “Authorities will be alerted immediately”).
Here is a run down of last night’s meeting and news about the $65 million Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation Project:
Draining of the lake is scheduled to begin on August 10 and will be completed within 30 days. A Q & A period prompted a burning question: “When you dredge the lake can you assure us there will be no dead bodies found?” The answer from Council District 13 Senior Advisor Mitch O’Farrell was: “No, we are not 100% sure there are no dead bodies. If something tragic is discovered, authorities will be alerted immediately.”
The Echo Park Lake Boathouse is being renovated in conjunction with the lake rehabilitation. Ohaji Abdallah, Project Manager from the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, reviewed details specific to the separately funded boathouse renovation. According to Abdallah, the Spanish Colonial style boathouse rehabilitation and structural renovation follows federal guidelines and Standards for Historic Preservation . “We are saving as much of the historic fabric of the building as possible.” he said.
Requests for proposals are being solicited for concessionaires to operate a cafe and boat rentals. Special consideration is being taken to find an appropriate food vendor who can maximize the potential of the new commercial grade kitchen facility and who will provide quality, affordable fare.
- Fish will be re-located to MacArthur Park.
- Four temporary ponds are being constructed for domesticated and migratory bird populations for the duration of the project.
- Turtles (all of which are non-native to California) will be adopted by the California Turtle and Tortoise Club.
- Relocation and the safety of animals has been approved and is being monitored by California Department of Fish and Game.
Councilman Garcetti’s office will coordinate with Los Angeles Homeless Services to address needs of the homeless population who have relocated to nearby alleyways since park closure.
Sidewalk & Construction Fence
The existing narrow sidewalk on Bellevue Avenue has been made more perilous by the project fence, residents said. In response, officials said they are looking for sidewalk repair funds. Viewing panels will be installed in the chain-link fence surrounding the project.
Water Quality and Conservation
Proposition O Project Manager, Kendrick Okuda, from the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, reviewed and discussed lake improvements and some construction considerations:
- Hydrodynamic separators will be installed to catch trash from run-off water before it enters the lake.
- Porous material will be used on pathways to divert rainwater into the lake.
- A bentonite (clay) lake bed liner will prevent seepage and water loss.
Odor & Environmental Concerns
Potential health hazards of contaminates from soil and dust from the lake bed once it is drained will be monitored and addressed by the citizen’s Oversight Committee and Odor Monitor Committee. Individuals interested in serving on either committee are encouraged to call the Prop O hotline at (213) 978-0317.
Prompted by community member Peter Lassen, project officials have agreed to post a timeline which would include projected dates for draining the lake, relocation of animal populations and replanting the lotus bed.
For more information on the Echo Park Lake Rehabilitation project or to get involved in the Oversight or Odor Monitor Committees, go to www.echoparklake.org or call (213) 978-0317.
- Questions, answers at town hall lake rehab. Patch