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County dedicates civic center in East Los Angeles

The $30-million complex, years in the making, has a bilingual library, a health clinic and a lake with fish.

May 11, 2008|Ruben Vives | Times Staff Writer

County officials on Saturday dedicated a more than $30-million civic center in East Los Angeles that took nearly a decade to complete.

The center, at 4801 E. Third St., serves residents of the unincorporated neighborhood, as well as those from Montebello, Monterey Park, Commerce and Los Angeles.

Angie Castro, a spokeswoman for L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, whose district includes East L.A., called the center the heart of the neighborhood.

County supervisors in 1999 approved a plan to renovate the center, and work began two years later. Since then, a bilingual library with a Chicano Studies Center has been constructed. The old library was refurbished as a County Hall, with offices for public works, planning and parks and recreation. There also is a health clinic on the site. The irrigation system for the center's lake was upgraded, and a new stock of fish was added.

"How many civic centers are there were you can take care of business and fish?" Castro asked.

Castro said many of the improvements were based on what residents wanted, including a large plaza with storefronts for commercial use.

An all-day celebration Saturday commemorated East L.A.'s culture and drew more than 2,000 people, she said. The event included "Healthy Living" workshops, lectures and health screenings. A concert under the stars was planned to end with a fireworks finale.

"This is a dream come true for the community," Castro said.

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ruben.vives@latimes.com

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