A key piece of land — a piece of Union Pacific Railroad property in Glassell Park — for the City of Los Angeles’ Los Angeles River restoration project is being negotiated for $59.3 million. The plan is to turn the former 42-acre rail yard, also known as G2 plot, into park space, wetlands and other amenities.
The overall property cost, including soil remediation costs and improvements, could cost the City of Los Angeles $240 million. In May, the City Council voted to allocate $40 million for the purchase of the land. City leaders had initially hoped the costs would be split between the city and the federal government. The City is counting on the state to provide $25 million of the purchase price.
City leaders had asked staffers to negotiate the purchase of the parcel in anticipation of the $1.5 billion U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ plan to revitalize an 11-mile stretch of the river running through the Elysian Valley, as reported by City News Service.
The 11-mile river project, which stretches from the northern end of Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles, will be considerably costlier than was forecast two years ago.
The price tag for the overall initiative — purchase land, ripping out concrete, adding water cleanup features, and reintroducing native habitat — is expected to reach $1.6 billion, as reported in the Los Angeles Times, and cause some property owners to lose their land through the use of eminent domain.
Some concerns have been voiced about devoting so much money to one section of the river. Opponents said that the city needs to analyze whether the 42-acre deal is fair and if the location really needs parkland the most.
Mayor Eric Garcetti and the council have until October 31st to open an escrow on the G2 site. The property would be subject to a new appraisal, potentially resulting in a higher purchase price if the deadline is missed. If they agree to open up escrow, the City would still have time to look into the deal more closely.
Supporters of the river restoration project believe the City could make a huge mistake in passing up on the purchase. The G2 parcel is seen as the lynchpin to the City’s plans to restore the river. Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who chairs the Arts, Parks, and River Committee said, the purchase of the yard would be “an enormous investment in a space that has a high value for the future of the Los Angeles River.”
It is likely that property for the river restoration project will be acquired through the use of eminent domain. If you are an affected property owner or business owner, you can learn more about your options by calling (866) EM-DOMAIN