Echo Park Lake to reopen in mid-May

by Kelly Erickson

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly two years since I’ve walked along the shores of Echo Park Lake, and it won’t be long until we can all enjoy it again. Recently, the final Echo Park Lake Oversight Committee meeting took place before the grand opening, where representatives from the Bureau of Engineering and Council District 13 joined community members in providing the final details on the project wrap-up. The good news? The lake will reopen mid-May! Plans are to have a grand opening open to the public. A few notes on the rest of the items, including festivals, the Lotus blossoms, and more below:

Lady of the Lake

The Lady of the Lake statue was reinstalled just earlier this year. This time she is at her original place, moved from the east side of the lake to the north side, and is also now facing north in the original position. She also has her fingers again after some vandals took a liking to the statue in 2010.

Lake Pathways

The pavement around the perimeter of the lake is made up of a porous pavement (a concrete mixture) and is a light tan color. Bicycles will not permitted on the path.

Lotus Plants

Currently the lotus bed, along with some of the other planted areas, have a thin netting around/over them. This is to ensure the plants have enough time to establish without the birds eating them away before they get big enough. The netting is temporary, but will take approximately one year before it is removed. Blooms of the now one-year old lotus plants will likely occur next spring, depending on the weather. There were over 300 of the Nelumbo Nucifera species planted at the lake.

Fish and fishing

As always before, catch and release is the name of the game. While mosquito fish have already by introduced into the lake (for obvious reasons), fish will be stocked regularly in a year or so as long as the water quality is deemed good. That is, after all, the whole point of the lake rehab! “Fish condos” will also be installed in a couple of weeks.

No festivals, for a while

The landscaping and sod are the final pieces to go into place before the lake opens, and needs some time to establish. This means the Lotus Festival, set to make its come-back this year, will not be happening at the Lake nor any other location. Other events like the annual Cuban Music Festival will also be delayed until next year.

The Boathouse

The Department of Recreation and Parks has release the Request for Proposals (RFPs) for the boathouse. They expect that in two months, more information will be available. However, the boathouse won’t be open for the lake opening.

The Island

I’ve never actually been on that small piece of land connected by the famous bridge, nor on the bridge itself. The plan is to open the bridge and island to the public only on special occasions because of the bird life, but some community members requested it be kept open. Stay tuned for details on the grand opening in the coming weeks!

Published in the April-May 2013 issue of EPIAn Ways and on Echo Park Now