Canyon's Sale to Conservancy OKd

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Moving to protect one of the few remaining parklands in the city's urban core, the Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved the sale of Elyria Canyon in Mt. Washington to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

The action, approved unanimously and without discussion, paves the way for the 34-acre park to be acquired with funds from a county bond measure approved by voters last November. The measure, Proposition A, allocated $40 million to the conservancy, a park acquisition agency, to purchase lands. Up to $14 million was earmarked for property within the city.

The council's decision will enable Elyria Canyon to become part of a new Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District, which also was created under Proposition A.

The canyon, just north of the Los Angeles River and the Arroyo Seco, has for years been the scene of disputes over development that pitted the demand for housing against the demand to preserve an increasingly rare phenomenon in Los Angeles: urban parkland.

"This is a great, rare opportunity to preserve one of the few remaining nature areas in the inner city," Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg said in introducing the request to approve the parkland's sale.

"The residents of Mt. Washington especially have fought hard to maintain the canyon in its natural state. I am proud of their efforts and delighted that their hard work has finally paid off," said Goldberg, whose district includes the parkland.

Two weeks ago, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors also approved Proposition A funding for the property's purchase. To complete the transfer between the county and conservancy, the council had to approve the sale, officials said.

The back-to-back actions by the city and county enable the conservancy and the property's owner to begin negotiations. Because those negotiations are confidential, officials say, the expected purchase price of the parkland will not be disclosed.

Under the city's planning and zoning maps, the property already is designated as desirable for open space.

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