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After more than a year of renovating, curtain rises on Burbank’s Johnny Carson Park

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Johnny Carson Park on Bob Hope Drive is now open after major remodeling,.
( Raul Roa / Raul Roa | Burbank Leader )

One of Burbank’s most utilized parks is open again to the public after being closed for more than a year while crews took on an extensive, $3.7-million renovation.

The 17.6-acre Johnny Carson Park opened in recent days after its first major renovation in nearly 40 years.

A grand reopening ceremony is slated for July 21, said Judie Wilke, Burbank’ parks and recreation director.

New playground equipment at Johnny Carson Park

New playground equipment at Johnny Carson Park on Tuesday, June 28, 2016.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)
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Before the renovation work began, 60 sycamore trees succumbed to the fungus-carrying beetle known as the polyphagous shot hole borer. As part of the improvements that began in April 2015, they were replaced, and others were added to the park’s landscape.

“We ended up planting more trees because we had lost so many, which is a shame, but there isn’t any way to save those trees. The polyphagous beetle had killed them all,” Wilke said.

Underground, crews installed new irrigation pipes that tap into recycled water.

Additional highlights include the park’s new playground and acoustic concert stage.

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Johnny Carson Park

Johnny Carson Park on Bob Hope Dr. is now open after major remodeling.

(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The greatest bulk of the work, Wilke said, came with removing the asphalt and concrete from the bed of the Tujunga Wash creek, which flows into the Los Angeles River.

The creek now has a natural stream bed and native plantings, and two new bridges above it.

“We’ve restored it to what it was before,” she said. “It’s supposed to hold up with big storms.”

So far, as nearby business owners and residents have experienced the new space, they seem to have enjoyed it. “Overall, the feedback is that the park is really spectacular,” Wilke said.

The rededication ceremony begins at 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 21.

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Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com

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Twitter: @kellymcorrigan


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