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The towering stone pine tree and iconic miner statue are well known to the residents who pass by Carthay Circle Park each day, city officials said, but now the newly reopened park will also be known as a beacon for water conservation.
Residents and city officials gathered on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the new improvements made to the small median park located on McCarthy Vista. In a joint effort, the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks (RAP) and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) created a “water conservation and park rejuvenation project” at Carthay Circle Park.
City Councilman Paul Koretz, 5th District, noted that the community originally gathered on Sept. 25, 1925 to dedicate the miner statue at the park, which depicts Daniel O. McCarthy, a resident of Los Angeles who died in 1919 after coming to the area during the Gold Rush. In February 2008, the statue was stolen and sold for scrap metal. It was found and returned to the park by police in January 2009 (see Vintage, page 13).
The area is filled with a rich history, Koretz said, noting the Carthay Theatre, where such films as “Gone With the Wind” debuted, used to be located across the street.
“Today, we gather to celebrate a new generation of people and a revitalized park that depicts a new time,” he said. “This park stands not only as a park, but as an example of a water conservation project that was energetically worked on by a lot of folks who are here today.”
New park features include regionally compatible, drought tolerant, grass and plants, decomposed granite pathways and a new irrigation system. Drought tolerant plants installed at the park include blue sedge, pink muhly grass, red-yellow kangaroo paw, Douglas iris and New Zealand flax.
“All the landscaping and all the walkways, that’s all new,” said RAP assistant general manager Ramon Barajas. “This used to be a turf area — all grass.”
The new changes will allow the small park to save 243,000 gallons of water annually, city officials said.
“It’s great to see beautiful parks like this getting done and providing multiple benefits to the community,” said DWP civil engineer Jevon Lam. “That’s quite a lot of water saved and it is also a great opportunity to check out what California-friendly really means.”
Lam added that he hopes the landscaping would inspire residents to look into tearing out their own green lawns and taking advantage of DWP’s program that pays $3.75 per square foot for turf removal and replacement.
The Carthay Circle Park project was part of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s 2014 Hire L.A. program, which provides young adults with hands-on job training. RAP hired youth for its smart irrigation team.
Officials lauded a group of residents who stayed committed to the project for as long as 10 years.
“I really enjoyed getting involved in this,” said Carol Howard, one of the residents who helped keep the project moving forward. “DWP wanted to make this park a template of the absolutely wonderful things L.A. can do. I know that the community is going to love it forever and for years to come.”
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