In October 2016 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed Public Works to work with other County Departments to update the LA River Master Plan for the first time in over 20 years. This kicked off a multi-year process, involving dozens of community meetings, thousands of community members, and a diverse Steering Committee to help ensure the plan reflects the diverse interests along the river.
In the midst of current events that include the health pandemic, social justice uprisings, and wildfires worsened by climate change, it is clear the LA River is a critically important, often overlooked, public resource in the County. We want the plan to be comprehensive, thoughtful, and representative of the various community voices as we lay the groundwork for the next 25 years of investment in the river. These investments are not only an engine of economic recovery for the region, they are essential to addressing the disparity within our communities and improving the quality of life and ecosystem health for current and future generations of Angelenos.
We have a vision for the LA River to become 51 miles of connected public open space that provides landmark opportunities to reduce flood risk and improve resiliency, support healthy and connected ecosystems, address potential adverse impacts to housing affordability and people experiencing homelessness, promote healthy, safe clean water, and create jobs while fostering opportunities for arts, culture, and community engagement. These goals have perhaps never been more important than right now and the LA River can help us achieve them.
Specifically, Los Angeles County's 2020 LA River Master Plan identifies opportunities for the following:
- Over 200 potential project sites that will create local jobs.
- Thousands of acres of publicly accessible open space that will help address public health issues, especially in the most disadvantaged communities.
- Innovative multi-benefit projects that assist in mitigating future disasters, such as flooding, drought, and extreme heat events, while enhancing ecosystem function.
- Actions for affordable housing and homelessness, a key initiative to address displacement in areas vulnerable to gentrification.
- A framework for future community engagement to influence projects built under the plan.
We know that updating the Master Plan for all 51 miles of the LA River is a huge undertaking. We are grateful for you and all the people who have brought their dedication, innovation, and creativity to help guide this effort.