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New Lincoln Heights Park Breaks Ground

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Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Councilman Gil Cedillo broke ground on the Albion Riverside Park Saturday morning, setting the scene for construction of the long-gestating park. The park will occupy a triangle plot of land bordered by Albion Street, Avenue 17, and the L.A. River, and will connect with the existing Downey Recreation Center. Part of 2004's Proposition O initiative to commit $100 million towards cleaning up L.A.'s water systems, the park will offer green public space to the Lincoln Heights neighborhood as well as improve storm water drain systems.

The City officially purchased the plot of land in 2009, according to L.A. Magazine. The site formerly housed a dairy warehouse, so demolition also included an extensive cleanup process to rid the site of industrial pollutants and chemicals. The clean-up took 20 months and cost $2.2 million more than the original budget because the soil was more contaminated than expected, according to the LA Times. The clean-up problems hint at the difficulties and cost of renovating the nearby Piggyback Yard. The 125-acre plot of land has long been a hot commodity for revitalization because of its size and proximity to the L.A. River, but Union Pacific Railroad still owns the property and refuses to sell.

While the Piggyback Yard may never see the light of day as a park, the Albion Riverside Park is set to open in spring of 2019, according to Curbed. The latest renderings show open space, soccer fields, shaded gathering areas, playgrounds, and access to the Downey Recreation Center.

At the groundbreaking, Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de Leon spoke about how the park is a testament to communication between the community and the people handling the funds, as well as the "objective do everything that we can possible to create more parks and open spaces for our children," regardless of a child's race, zip code, or legal status.