30-Acre “Urban Orchard” Moves Forward in South Gate

The City of South Gate is moving forward with plans to construct a large park adjacent to the Los Angeles River, according to an initial study published last month.

The Urban Orchard Project, described as a passive recreation area, would span a linear 30-acre site on the River’s east bank – running 1.1 miles between Firestone Boulevard in the north and the Rio Hondo Channel in the south.

Construction is anticipated to occur in three phases – starting with a seven-acre city-owned property located north of the Thunderbird Villa Mobile Home Park.  Plans call for the construction of a net wetland and other recreational amenities, including a community building, restrooms, an educational garden, and orchard with fruit trees, a plaza with outdoor seating and picnic areas, and a parking lot.

The project would also include a channel diversion structure which would pump water from the Bandini Channel into the wetland – which will double as a water treatment facility.  Beneath the surface of the park, plans call for a storage reservoir, a stormwater harvesting system, and a pump for irrigation of the orchard and other landscaping.

Work on the initial phase of the Urban Orchard is expected to occur over 18 months.  An exact timeline for construction is not clear.

Subsequent phases of the project would include a linear strip of land directly on the river bank, a portion of which sits below power transmission lines.

Plans for the remaining 23 acres of land include landscaping and trails, with a confluence outlook at the southern end.  Many of these project elements are incorporated into the Lower L.A. River Revitalization plan, which plots out improvements for the 19-mile stretch between Vernon and the waterway’s discharge point in Long Beach.

The Urban Orchard will also intersect with the West Santa Ana Branch light rail line, which will make use of an existing freight rail right-of-way that cuts through the park site.  Construction of the new transit corridor is scheduled to begin in 2022.

 

By STEVEN SHARP