The three design schemes look completely distinct on paper and include different names — “Island,” “Soft Edge,” “The Yards” — however, they all have the identical goal: restore wildlife habitat, plant people-friendly landscapes and develop flood-control strategies for a place that has been the subject of so much neglect, speculation, dreaming and debate: the L.A. River.
Among the loudest conversations about the transformation of the 51-mile L.A. River center on Taylor Yard, what had been a greasy, soot-filled tangle of rail traces and boxcars. All through the 1940s and ’50s, freight trains rumbled to and from the yard named after the Taylor Mill that once stood on the site. When Southern Pacific Railroad vacated the land within the mid-1980s, the corporate left behind a contaminated plot along the concrete-lined waterway.
Taylor Yard, also known as the G2 parcel, has emerged as the heart of the ambitious L.A. River Revitalization Plan, an initiative for an 11-mile stretch of river and part of a multipronged effort to renew habitat and create green area for Los Angeles residents in adjacent neighborhoods along San Fernando Road — Cypress Park and Glassell Park — in addition to Elysian Valley across the river.
In 2017 the Los Angeles paid $60 million for the 42-acre parcel, which is adjoining to Rio de Los Angeles State Park and the Bowtie, a yet-to-be-developed 18-acre parcel owned by California State Parks. The entire remediation and redevelopment of Taylor Yard will take almost a decade, with sections of the riverbank opening to the public in phases beginning in three to five years.
The new Spanish structure office Selgascano will create a viewing platform at Taylor Yard, so the public has some entry to the changes to the river habitat before the 2028 opening.
More essential, three preliminary proposals for the overall park design had been recently made public.