Thursday, February 04, 2010

Councilmembers Bring A Bit of Seoul to the L.A. River


CONTACTS: Monica Valencia/Reyes (213)280-0740
Carolyn Ramsay/LaBonge (213)359-3593

City Leaders Bring A Bit of Seoul to the Los Angeles RiverCity, Korean leaders pour Cheonggyecheon river water into L.A. River site marked for concrete removal

LOS ANGELES (February 4, 2010) – Councilmembers Ed P. Reyes and Tom LaBonge today joined environmental and Korean leaders in an international Sister River ceremony at Taylor Yard, the L.A. River site marked for concrete removal.

To inspire the revitalization of the Los Angeles River, the Councilmembers joined Friends of the Los Angeles River(FoLAR) in welcoming Seoul, Korea’s Stream Restoration Team to Los Angeles by co-mingling the waters of the two urban rivers.

During the press conference, officials holding a blue vase poured water hand-carried from the Cheonggyecheon Stream, which flows through Seoul, South Korea, into the L.A. River. The Stream had been encased in concrete until a two-year, $384 million dollar restoration effort transformed it into a park and recreation area in the city’s core.

“Imagine permanently shutting down one of L.A.’s major freeways to create a living, breathing river,” said Councilmember Reyes. “That’s essentially what happened in Seoul, Korea and today Korean delegates are here to inspire us as we revitalize the L.A. River, the birthplace of our City. They demonstrated to the world, novel and innovative ways of engaging citizens on how river renewal could improve the quality of life of all residents.”

"Co-mingling the waters of these two great rivers is a symbolic gesture of hope," said Councilmember LaBonge. "By admiring and celebrating the success of our Korean neighbors we can see with our own eyes how restoring a river to its natural habitat can bring beauty, grace and economic vitality to a great city."

In addition to the Korean delegates, the Councilmembers were joined by City Engineer Gary Lee Moore, FoLAR Founder and President Lewis MacAdams, Korean Cultural Center Director Jaewon Kim and and FoLAR Executive Director Shelly Backlar.

The ceremony was held at Taylor Yard, the site identified in the City’s Los Angeles River Revitalization Master Plan for large-scale ecosystem restoration and concrete removal. The LARRMP, adopted in May 2007, is a 25-50 year blueprint to transform a more than 30-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River into a continuous greenbelt linking communities.

This is the first in a series of events co-sponsored by Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) and the Korean Cultural Center Los Angeles to bring together the stories of two rivers.

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