CITY HALL - In a unanimous decision, the Los Angeles City Council on Friday took action that allows the City to close escrow on the parcel of land at Taylor Yard/G-2, an essential piece of property for restoration efforts along the Los Angeles River.
Specifically, the City Council voted to move forward to allocate nearly $60 million to acquire this 42-acre parcel of land currently owned by Union Pacific Railroads. The former freight switching facility is located near the Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academy and Rio de Los Angeles State Park. The property has long been sought for acquisition but until recently did not have a willing seller.
“My colleagues and I were relentless in making sure the City negotiated a fiscally responsible purchase and sales agreement to acquire the Taylor Yard G-2 site,” said Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell. “The Council action today will enable the public to control the largest available piece of property along our Los Angeles River. Parcel G-2 is a keystone for habitat restoration identified in our Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan. I commend the members of my Arts, Parks, and LA River Committee, the Chief Legislative Analyst, the City Administrative Officer, the City Attorney's office, and the Bureau of Engineering for their sound collaboration in getting us to this critical point."
“This riverfront parcel is the crown jewel in our plan to enliven the Los Angeles River so that Angelenos can reclaim access to its natural wonder and rich history,” said Mayor Garcetti. “I made the acquisition of this site a top priority, because it will create much-needed public open space in the middle of the city, provide extensive habitat restoration, and serve as a key access point for local communities to connect to the river. I’m grateful to the City Council for their visionary approach and spirit of collaboration in getting this done for the people of Los Angeles.”
The Council action has been a year in the making, with the item being deliberated by Councilmembers in both Arts, Parks, and the Los Angeles River Committee and Budget and Finance Committee to ensure that this momentous acquisition was fully vetted to determine whether the investment was in the best interest of the citizens of Los Angeles for future generations to come.
“Today’s action is an important piece of the greater puzzle that will eventually result in a fully renewed and revitalized LA River winding through our city,” said Budget and Finance Committee Chair Paul Krekorian. “This parcel will give Angelenos acres of additional green space in the basin and complement the great work we’re doing to improve river access in the San Fernando Valley.”
“As an active member of both the River and Budget committees, I am proud that we took this huge step,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield. “For more than 20 years, starting with my days working for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, I have been trying to help transform the LA river from merely a flood control channel into a linear greenway and river park. Progress on that vision has been steady, but this purchase represents a quantum jump. ”
City leaders and river advocates dedicated to the LA River restoration efforts have been laser-focused on acquiring the property due to its value as a river-adjacent open space with opportunities for habitat restoration, further fulfilling the goals of the LA River Revitalization Master Plan approved by the City Council in 2007.
“With the hard work of Councilmember O’Farrell and his staff, along with the support of his Council colleagues and the Mayor’s office, the community will realize a dream that resulted from the 1992 Taylor Yard community meetings,” said former City Councilmember Ed Reyes. “I am grateful the City can now begin to implement the goals set by the community, and work toward stimulating an exciting new riverfront destination.”
"At a moment when forces in Washington are calling into question the very idea of community, the G2 parcel purchase underlines the power of the people unchained,” said Lewis MacAdams, co-founder of Friends of the Los Angeles River. “We gather with our River partners and those who have worked so hard and so long to make this fine day possible."
Following the Council vote today, the City will have 30 days to close escrow. Once escrow closes, the City will have access to the property.