SACRAMENTO – California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) held a press conference with advocates to celebrate $100 million in new state budget funding to restore and revitalize the Los Angeles River.
Projects aimed at transforming the 51-mile concrete trough into a vibrant social and recreational center are nearly three decades in the making.
This funding will breathe new life into the parks and open spaces along the banks of the L.A. River, focused in the city’s most disadvantaged communities. By investing in the planning, implementation, and protection of outdoor spaces along the L.A. River corridor - $100 million will also be leveraged to create new jobs.
“Expanding access to green open spaces in communities such as those along the L.A. River corridor has been a priority of mine since I joined the legislature,” de León said. “Children living along the corridor suffer disproportionately from asthma, obesity, and diabetes – conditions we can avoid by providing more healthy outdoor space for recreation.”
“This is a historic moment for the Los Angeles River,” said Marissa Christiansen, Executive Director of Friends of the Los Angeles River. “Pro-Tem de León and Speaker Rendon have demonstrated the type of unified, collaborative leadership that will ultimately lead to a thriving natural resource for all Angelenos. This funding comes at a pivotal moment in the River’s history and will truly make a meaningful impact in its progress forward. As we say, River restoration ‘takes a Friend.’ Today, we are thrilled to have the California legislature as a Friend.”
"We want one great 51-mile river and greenway, says River LA's Executive Director Omar Brownson, "The visionary and collaborative leadership of Pro Tem Kevin de León, Speaker Anthony Rendon, Supervisor Hilda Solis, local leaders and Frank Gehry are bringing together the stakeholders with the financial resources to make one river possible. There are 2100 acres of land within the flood control channel that we want to unlock for public benefit. This investment is key to moving this vision forward."
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has been a leader in the effort to restore and revitalize the Los Angeles River as a community resource for more than 20 years, creating parks and recreation zones along the river and its tributaries. These funds, championed by Senate President Pro Tempore Kevin de León, will create vital green space for park-poor neighborhoods and provide more recreational opportunities within our communities. The funding will go a long way to further local investment in the river and fulfill the vision of the dozens of nonprofit organizations and community stakeholders who have worked hard to realize its extraordinary potential.
Earlier this year, the Senate Leader played a key role in the City of Los Angeles acquiring the Taylor Yard G2 land parcel, formerly a Union Pacific Railroad facility. It’s a 41-acre parcel adjacent to the LA River in the City, just north of downtown, which will be soon transformed into a public greenspace.