Councilman and mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti today announced that Echo Park Lake will reopen to the public on June 15 after a nearly two-year-long, $85 million clean up and renovation. Garcetti, who will face off against Wendy Greuel in the May 21 election, made the announcement this morning at the lake, which had been closed and fenced off for about two years as part of a water quality improvement project financed with Prop. O funds.
Garcetti said the rebuilding and reopening of Echo Park Lake has come to symbolize the rejuvenation of the neighborhood.
“Like the surrounding neighborhood, the park had fallen on some tough times,” Garcetti told the crowd. But, “this is a community that is back.”
The mayoral candidate got almost as much attention as the newly cleaned up lake, with an entourage of staff, reporters, city officials and residents following him as toured the restored lake and park grounds.
While the park will reopen to the public next month, the lake’s Boathouse and boating will remain closed as the city seeks a vendor to open a restaurant and operate a boating concession. Also, the Lotus Festival will not return to the park until 2014.
How is the city going to protect its investment in the park and its pristine grounds? Mike Shull, assistant general manager for the city’s Recreation and Parks Department, said the city has not allocated any additional funding for park maintenance. In fact, Shull said the park might prove less costly to maintain given the new landscaping, irrigation system, walk ways and lighting systems.
Some residents have raised concern about the return of vendors and a swap meet that once spilled across the park grounds shortly before the park was closed to the public for the clean up. Shull said there are laws on the city books that regulate vending. “It’s up to law enforce to enforce what’s in the municipal code.”