Five awesome things about the new Echo Park Lake

Earlier this month, we shared some excellent news on Twitter and FacebookEcho Park Lake will be officially and finally opening to the public on June 15! Although this is about a month later than we expected, the project is on time and under budget at $45 million (originally $85 million).

At a news conference/media preview of the lake earlier this month, elected officials and project heads shared thoughts on the project: “This has been an iconic setting for film, for literature, for art, for countless movies,” said L.A. mayoral candidate Eric Garcetti. “And like the surrounding neighborhood the park has fallen on some tough times. But the true beauty of Echo Park is reflected not just Echo Park itself, this lake, but the entire community here today.”

When the gates do open at Echo Park Lake on June 15, we think everyone will like the changes. Here are our top five favorite things about the new Echo Park Lake:

 1) The new Lotus bed

The Lotus bed is back in its original location

Back in its original spot, the Lotus bed started getting greener just last month when the Lotus leaves popped up above the water level. While the netting will remain over the plants for about a year to prevent birds from eating all the new plants, the Lotus blossoms have started to bloom, about a year ahead of schedule!

2) The Boathouse will be back

As soon as the city decides on what vendor to bring in (we vote for Homegirl Cafe!!), the boathouse will not only be a fully operating kitchen, it will also support the peddle boats once again! At next year’s Lotus Festival, the dragon boats will also launch off of the Boathouse’s deck.

3) The Boardwalks/Observation decks

There are two boardwalk-style structures around the lake that act as observation decks – one on the north end is a large wooden deck overlooking wetlands, the other on the West end is a concrete deck. Both have benches and some signage on the information of the lake, and are definitely going to be the coveted spots to chill.

Boardwalk on the North end of the Lake

Boardwalk on the West end of the Lake

4) The birds return!

Bird protecting its nest!

Although the number of birds declined at last December’s bird count, over the years there have been over 70 species of birds counted at the lake. Now that there is plenty of water and potentially lots of food, we expect a number of them to return – in fact at the media preview this month, we spied one with its next just at the shore!

5) The Festivals

The number one question we get asked every year is when the Lotus Festival and when the Cuban Music Festival will be celebrated at the Lake. Unfortunately this year there will be no festivals as the new sod needs some time to establish. But next year we can count on the famous dragon boat races and more!

Lotus Festival in 2011

Want to see more photos of the Lake? Click here to visit our Facebook album.

See you at the grand opening at June 15!

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