Lisa Herron and her 1,100-pound horse, Zip, are currently forced to clip-clop on asphalt at Bette Davis Park, but come next year, the duo could be trotting along a new 3-acre bridle loop connecting with a new Glendale park and trail system along the L.A. River.
“I’m really excited,” Herron said. “It’s just really dangerous to ride on the street with all the cars.”
Herron and her white-and-brown horse were front and center at a groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the equestrian project, which is covered by $3 million from Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
Los Angeles Councilman Tom LaBonge and Glendale Mayor Laura Friedman pointed to the project as a way the neighboring cities can work together for the benefit of residents.
“There’s no borders here because our cities work together,” LaBonge said.
Despite the groundbreaking, Los Angeles officials said the project may get off to a slow start since parks and recreation staff were tapped to focus on cleaning the Occupy L.A. site after police evicted the demonstrators overnight Tuesday.
“We’re going to be moving a bit slower than usual,” said Ramon Barajas, superintendent for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, adding that staff furloughs may also cause delays.
Glendale’s new river-side bicycle, pedestrian and equestrian trail system, known as the Glendale Narrows Riverwalk, is facing its own roadblocks.
John Pearson, a project manager for the Riverwalk, said project consultant North East Trees is having issues securing a state grant for the project.
“These are difficult times as far as moving money,” Pearson said.
The $1.7-million first phase, which is already under construction, includes a parking area and entry park on the west end near Paula Avenue, a park along the river, an equestrian center and trails along 4 acres that stretch to riverbanks near DreamWorks Animation.
The second section is to include interpretive signs and a river outlook with seating areas near the river along Fairmont Avenue and Flower Street at a cost of $975,000.
Despite the funding snags, Los Angeles and Glendale officials estimated the projects would be completed sometime next year.
Friedman, who owns a horse named Squiggles, described the groundbreaking as a “really exciting step.”
“I can’t wait to see it happen,” she said.