Echo Park neighbors concerned that plan to take down fence around park will bring back homeless encampments
ECHO PARK, LOS ANGELES (KABC) — A new fight is brewing over a fence around Echo Park Lake, controversially installed two years ago to keep out homeless encampments from the park.
Some local residents are upset that a Los Angeles city councilman is seeking to have the fence removed.
The chain link fence surrounding Echo Park Lake has made some residents feel more comfortable taking evening walks and spending time at the park.
Children and adults enjoy the views, gathering for birthday parties and other activities.
Two years ago protesters clashed with police when nearly 200 people living in homeless encampments were removed.
The park was closed for repairs and the fence has remained up since it reopened.
“When we didn’t have a fence and the encampments were here, instead of joy, laughter, children playing and people walking, all you saw was drug abuse, constant fights, prostitution – you name it!” said Nancy Ochoa, a local resident.
Los Angeles Councilman Hugo Soto-Martinez has decided to have the fence removed.
“To take a fence down you cannot keep this park clean, you cannot keep it secure,” said Gil Mangaoang.
Others want the fence taken down.
“I think the fence has been an eyesore for the community,” said Tony Corella. “I think it’s far worse to divide and not solve the actual problem.”
That problem he says, is the need for more affordable housing.
Councilman Soto-Martinez says he’s working on obtaining hotel vouchers for unhoused people who try to relocate to the park.
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