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Behind the fence: Tour of Echo Park Lake construction

About 100 interested locals (including politicians, volunteers, and candidates) spent the morning in LA City hard hats amongst the dust and debris behind the fence of Echo Park Lake. Guided in small groups by project manager Marlon Calderon, our 9:00 am group (the first one!) got a close-up look of the North side of the Lake where Lady of the Lake statue will stand, the “boardwalk” alongside the wetlands and bridge, and the Boathouse – inside and out.

The project is about 60% complete, and come February, it should be full with water. The 60 construction workers are working on Saturdays to beat the rainy season, which will hopefully just fill the lake up naturally without any help from the city water sources. Our guide Calderon mentioned that with the Lake being the lowest point in the Silver Lake / Echo Park area, 26 million gallons of water can fill the lake in three hours – so there shouldn’t be any issues getting the water in there.

The Lake’s historic and widely known bridge

The Lotus plants will actually be planted in the next two months – a “berm” (like an under water dam) surrounding the Lotus bed on the North side of the Lake will keep all the water for that area in.

While many trees were removed due to disease, there are 400 trees currently being maintained and watered, and 200 more are expected to be added before the Lake’s grand opening in Spring 2013.

The Boathouse has yet to have an official concessions company, but the kitchen is high-end and fully stocked (leaving many of us to hope for something along the lines of Homegirl Cafe taking over). They’ll also be adding in a new boat dock, while bringing up the entire Boathouse to compliance to make it fully functional (that means paddle boats, people!).

More photos and info after the jump!

Click to download the landscape plan (PDF)

If you’re not familiar with the Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project, the run-down is as follows: It’s a $65-70 million project funded by Proposition O, which sets standards for safe and clean water in California. The lake is actually a reservoir, collecting water runoff from Glendale Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue. Because that runoff contains a bagillion pollutants, the water was incredibly toxic. Other issues included dying plants that needed replacing (lots of trees), a leaking lake bed that needed replacing, surrounding structures like sidewalks that needed upgrading, and of course a filtration system for the runoff. The main controversies with the project include its allocation as an historic monument – changing and updating the filtration meant changing the historic landscape.

View of the Boathouse from the peninsula

View from the peninsula, where the Lade of the Lake statue will stand

The Lotus bed, which will be planted within a couple of months

The wetlands on the West side of the Lake have some structures built that will be about a foot or two under the water

Random boat that obviously hasn’t been used in a while…

This whole area will be covered in wetlands and a “boardwalk”

The Boathouse dock – exposed!

The 9:00 am group, ready to get out of the heat!

View from the Boathouse

Inside the Boathouse

The Boathouse kitchen – fully stocked

In the Boathouse – this is the access ladder to the rotunda. It was hard to resist climbing up!

Notice the Boathouse has new glass panes on the rotunda

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