MacArthur Park Reopens After Four-Month Closure

The park reopened Tuesday after undergoing more than $1.5 million in renovations

A section of MacArthur Park is now open to the public after undergoing more than $1.5 million in renovations.

The park’s lakeside portion, which closed in October, reopened Tuesday. The improvements include the installation of a new irrigation system, updated lighting and park signage, the trimming and addition of dozens of trees and plants, and new recreation areas.

“I am proud to reopen MacArthur Park Lakeside to make it clean, safe, and secure,” Councilmember Gil Cedillo said in a statement.

More than 160 homeless people were moved indoors from both sides of the park in the months leading up the closure with the help of the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) and People Assisting The Homeless (PATH), a local nonprofit organization, CBS Los Angeles reports.

By October 15, the day of the park’s closure, nearly 130 people living there had been placed in hotel and motel rooms through Project Roomkey, according to the Los Angeles Times. But, as of February 14, 46 percent of them were still living in shelters.

The park closure went largely without incident as officials were attempting to avoid a situation like what happened during the sudden closure of Echo Park Lake in March, where a large homeless encampment had grown during the pandemic. The timing of that closure was kept secret until the last minute, which sparked protests. More than 180 people were detained or arrested and dozens were injured during the altercations with police.

By contrast, the closure at MacArthur Park was announced weeks in advance.

“We were able to do that without any drama, without any rancor, without any presence of the police,” Cedillo told the Times.

The LAHSA and PATH will have outreach teams regularly walking MacArthur Park to direct people to services, unarmed park rangers will patrol the park from the evening through the early morning, and Volunteers of America will deploy peace ambassadors to educate and mitigate any issues that may occur, Cedillo said. The city is also launching new daily activities at the park’s recreational space in March.

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