Glen­dale opens sec­ond phase of river­front project

City un­veils a bike­way and two parks near Grif­fith Park as spots for peo­ple to rest.

Los Angeles Times - - CITY & STATE - By Lila Sei­d­man lila.sei­d­[email protected]­times.com Twit­ter: @lila_­sei­d­man Sei­d­man writes for Times Com­mu­nity News.

Of­fer­ing respite along a bike­way bor­der­ing the north­east bank of the Los An­ge­les River, two small parks opened late last month as part of a three­p­hase project to re­vi­tal­ize an area that has long been con­sid­ered a blight.

“Most cities turn their backs to the river. It’s con­sid­ered a drainage canal,” said Peter Vier­heilig, project man­ager of the sec­ond phase of the Glen­dale Nar­rows River­walk, lo­cated across the river from Grif­fith Park.

“There’s been a move­ment through­out Los An­ge­les to make the river our front­yard, for re­cre­ation and for peo­ple to en­joy their day,” he said.

Plan­ning for the sec­ond phase be­gan about four years ago for the pair of parks, which cost $3.5 mil­lion to com­plete.

Con­flu­ence Park is lo­cated at the con­flu­ence of the Ver­dugo Wash and the river, while Flower Plaza is at Flower Street and Fair­mont Av­enue. Both of­fer a place to stop and rest, Vier­heilig said.

The most re­cent phase also in­cludes a river out­look and 110-foot bridge cross­ing a box cul­vert, al­low­ing the con­tin­u­ance of a recre­ational path from the first phase of the project.

Fund­ing came from lo­cal de­vel­op­ment-im­pact fees, a Los An­ge­les County trans­porta­tion tax known as Mea­sure R, and a wa­ter grant cre­ated by state Propo­si­tion 84, in ad­di­tion to a small por­tion from the statewide gas tax, Vier­heilig said.

Since tak­ing the helm of the project, which has been in the works since the late 1990s, Vier­heilig has en­joyed watch­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of Dis­ney and DreamWorks em­ploy­ees use the bike path to com­mute to work.

Em­ploy­ees from a nearby city-owned haz­ardouswast­e fa­cil­ity also en­joy strolling around the green space at lunch, he said.

On Oct. 30, U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Bur­bank), state Sen. An­thony Por­tantino and state As­sem­bly­woman Laura Fried­man spoke about the project at a ded­i­ca­tion cer­e­mony cel­e­brat­ing the launch of phase two, ac­cord­ing to Vier­heilig.

“I’m not par­tic­u­larly po­lit­i­cal, but it was in­spir­ing to hear their ex­cite­ment about the project and the fu­ture of the project,” Vier­heilig said.

Early plan­ning has started on the third phase, which will in­clude a bridge across the river that will link the west­ern part of Glen­dale with Grif­fith Park. Vier­heilig said he thinks con­struc­tion is five years out.

There is also hope to build a smaller bridge con­nect­ing west­ern Glen­dale to north­ern At­wa­ter Vil­lage, link­ing two bike paths on ei­ther side to cre­ate a much longer one, Vier­heilig said.

The fi­nal leg of the project is pro­jected to cost $25 mil­lion, a fig­ure that cov­ers de­vel­op­ment costs, en­vi­ron­men­tal re­search and con­struc­tion, he added.

Com­pleted in 2012, the project’s first phase in­cludes an en­try park, a pic­nic area along the river, an eques­trian fa­cil­ity and a half-mile recre­ational trail.

Raul Roa Times Com­mu­nity News

BI­CY­CLISTS RIDE OVER a new bridge this month in Glen­dale. The city opened the bridge and two parks re­cently as part of its years-long river­front project.

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