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Army Corps: Restore Los Angeles River

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POSTED May 29, 2014 8:16 p.m.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River would see restored wildlife habitats, new wetlands and longer bike trails under a $1 billion proposal that has received a key boost.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday it would recommend approval of the ambitious plan to rehabilitate a section of the river north of downtown through Elysian Park, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The decision by Assistant Army Secretary for Civil Works Jo-Ellen Darcy opened the way for Congress to consider the plan.

More than 700 acres would be revitalized and sections of the waterway would be widened to provide terracing along its eastern banks.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said the plan is “the right thing for the ecology, it’s the right thing for the economy.”

The city sees those 11 miles as the starting point for a project that could eventually revitalize all 51 miles of the river, from the San Fernando Valley to Long Beach, creating inviting spaces for recreation as well as commercial and residential development.

“In short, it will provide Angelenos an urban, recreational park for generations to come,” Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, who lobbied the Army Corps in support of the proposal, said in a statement.

City officials estimate that revamping the entire river could attract more than $5 billion in investment over the next 10 to 15 years, generating up to 18,000 jobs.

Under terms of the proposal, the $1.08 billion cost would be shared equally by the federal government, city and state sources, the Times said.

The bulk of the federal money would come from the Army Corps, with the Department of the Interior and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also looking to provide funds, Garcetti said.

The money could be allocated next year, the mayor said, with work possibly beginning soon after that.

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