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Planting the seeds of an L.A. park

April 24, 2008|Jill Leovy | Times Staff Writer

The City Council this week unanimously approved construction of an unusual urban wetland park on an old Metropolitan Transportation Authority maintenance yard in South Los Angeles.

The South Los Angeles Wetlands Park project will cost $19 million in proceeds from bond issues for parks and clean water and will take up to two years to build, city officials said. It will include a small lake, marshes with native plants, footpaths, a community center and a winding waterway.

The nine-acre MTA yard, which stretches from Avalon Boulevard to San Pedro Street in an industrial area on 54th Street, had been used as a transit hub for more than 100 years and was once a train barn for streetcars. The lot is paved and encircled by rusted chain-link fencing and razor wire, "a barren, underutilized concrete pad," Councilwoman Jan Perry said.

Surrounded by homes and schools, the site will make "an ideal locale for green space," Perry said.

Under the city's agreement with the MTA, the lot will be cleaned of toxics, then handed over to be developed as a wetland.

"There is a scarcity of green space here, a lack of places to go and get in touch with nature," said the Rev. John Deron Johnson, pastor of Phillips Temple CME Church, a supporter of the wetland project.

"It's got to be a plus for us," said Clark Coe, 46, a neighbor of the site. "It's a good start." Groundbreaking is slated for 2010.


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