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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / San Gabriel River Park opens in La Puente area

San Gabriel River Park opens in La Puente area

by Staff
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The San Gabriel River Park in La Puente opened to the public on Saturday with a grand opening celebration featuring activities and presentations.

The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation hosted the grand opening of park located along the San Gabriel River in the unincorporated community of Avocado Heights at 255 San Fidel Ave.

The park’s conceptual theme is “Rewilding Urban Spaces,” and officials’ aim with the project was to “create a vibrant and sustainable oasis in the heart of the community,” according to a county statement.

The grand opening was a day of festivities that marked what officials said was one of the most significant park openings in the history of LA County parks. Activities included animal ambassadors and presentations featuring pygmy goats, crafts for children, face painting, Folklorico dancers, guided walks, s’mores and other assorted fun and interesting things to do and see.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of my 25-year mission to create vital open spaces in disadvantaged communities in the San Gabriel Valley, which began when I passed legislation in 1999 to form the Rivers & Mountains Conservancy,” LA County 1st District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis said in a statement. “Now, everyone will have the access they deserve to an 80-acre urban oasis that will serve as an environmental crown jewel for generations to come. This is a moment to celebrate environmental justice and equity, because whenever we add open spaces in underserved communities we improve the lives of thousands of children and families.”

San Gabriel River Park, formerly known as the Duck Farm, is part of the regional river-adjacent Emerald Necklace Greenway Network, which loops 17 miles of parks and greenways that connect 10 San Gabriel Valley cities.

The new park features “multi-use entry and a river overlook plaza, a pedestrian passageway tunnel, native plant demonstration area, picnic garden, alongside walking and biking trails,” according to the county. Natural areas include wildflower meadows, “a bioswale area” and a riparian area that allow guests to immerse themselves into the habitat and experience biodiversity.

“San Gabriel River Park marks a significant milestone to the San Gabriel community, offering residents and visitors a chance to reconnect with nature and learn about the importance of environmental conservation,” said Norma E. García-González, Director of Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation. “The development of the River Parkway has been a long-standing vision, and we are thrilled to see it come to fruition.”

The park will be completed in phases and is funded by the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, California Natural Resources Agency, LA County Regional Park and Open Space District, LA County Flood Control District and the Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program, officials said. The budget is $12.1 million for Phase 1a and $7.3 million for Phase 1b.

Phase 1b includes a 1929 colonial revival farmhouse that will be converted into San Gabriel River Center and Gardens, a place for “water-wise” education and a community center, according to county officials, who hope the new center will “serve as a model for water conservation and inspire residents to retrofit their landscapes into functional and beautiful spaces that capture and conserve water.” Construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

“The addition of this park is a huge, nature-based experience, for the community and will be a destination site along Emerald Necklace”, Mark Stanley, director of the Watershed Conservation Authority, said in a statement. “As we move to complete the 17-mile loop along the San Gabriel and Rio Hondo rivers, this location is the newest park, further enhancing our natural areas and providing opportunity for all to engage in activities that are beneficial to our physical and mental health.”

When it’s completed, San Gabriel River Park will be owned by the Watershed Conservation Authority, with LA County Parks leasing and operating Phase 1a of the park, officials said. Future phases such as the River Center and Gardens will be added to the lease agreement as they are completed.

More information on the park is online at https://parks.lacounty.gov/san-gabriel-river-park/.

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