5th Stop: Cornfield
“Cornfield,” perhaps better known as Not a Cornfleld, is a 35-acre park that has recently been created between Chinatown and the LA River. However, if not for the efforts of Friends of the Los Angeles River (FOLAR), and other local environmental advocacy groups, this site would have instead become home to industrial warehouses.
Instead, FOLAR and other groups sued, arguing for a state park to provide much needed recreation opportunities for the inner-city communities northeast of downtown. The effort was successful, and we now have a lovely new urban park.
Ultimately, river advocates hope to connect the river directly to the park, but as we could see on the tour, this will be very expensive, as much infrastructure would have to be relocated for that to happen. But, as tour leader Joe Linton said, if the park had not been created, there would have been no chance to connect the river to downtown. At least now there is hope for a better situation, and this idea has been incorporated in the city’s master plan for the river.
For more background on this historic achievement, see the recommendations report (PDF) of the Cornfield State Park Advisory Committee.