LOS ANGELES -- Hundreds of advocates for our urban waterway joined the City Council on Wednesday to celebrate the inaugural Los Angeles River Day, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell announced today.
The event was part of a special presentation to raise awareness about progress and improvement projects on the LA River, and educate the public on resources available along the 51 miles that run from the Valley to the Port of Long Beach. The event was led by O’Farrell who chairs the City’s Arts, Parks, Health, Aging, and Los Angeles River committee.
“This is the inaugural event to celebrate the amazing resource that is the Los Angeles River,” said O’Farrell. “We stand here today to celebrate and honor those who have put the river on an irreversible course for success. After swimming upstream all these years, the River is beginning to carry us into the future.”
The event, which was attended by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Congressman Xavier Becerra, also served to honor former City Councilmember Ed P.Reyes. In his remarks, O’Farrell referred to Reyes as ‘‘the son of the Los Angeles River’ because of his decade-plus work as the former chair of the City’s ad hoc committee on the LA River.
“This is an emotional moment for me,” said Reyes. “This honor is not about me. This is about all the workers, all the staff who labored so intensely to get to this point.”
LA River Day comes on the heels of the announcement that the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) has selected a billion dollar plan to revitalize 11 miles of the urban waterway, from Griffith Park to downtown Los Angeles. In addition, the City recently celebrated the opening of two recreation zones along the river, which allows the public to walk, fish, and use non-motorized boats during the summer months. The recreation zones are located in Elysian Valley and the Sepulveda Basin. [SOURCE]
“The new recreation zone at the Sepulveda Basin will be a valuable addition to the city and my district,” Councilwoman Nury Martinez said. “This type of open space is precious and important to my residents, especially those living in apartment buildings surrounded by cement. I encourage all families to take time to enjoy this great resource together.”
The event today also featured two award categories. Councilmembers from each district nominated a River Hero to honor a community volunteer who has spent their time advocating for the waterway.
O’Farrell and Martinez announced the winner of a separate special recognition called the Golden Paddle Award, which will be passed on to a different councilmember each year. The Golden Paddle Award is a way to promote stewardship for the River and send a message that everyone has a kayak in the water when it comes to the LA River.
O’Farrell and Martinez announced the Golden Paddle Award, and this year’s winner, in a short video presentation. [MITCH O'FARRELL VIDEO ON YOUTUBE]