Echo Park Among '10 Great Neighborhoods'

Hilly terrain, diverse populations and a famous lake make Echo Park one of the "10 Great Neighborhoods for 2008," the American
Planning Association announced Wednesday.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti stood next to Echo Park Lake to accept the recognition. The APA cited the annual Lotus Festival, craftsman-style homes and parks as reasons for bestowing the honor on Echo Park.

"Echo Park is one of the brightest lights in a city full of stars and a city of angels -- a neighborhood that prides itself on its ethnic and
cultural heritage, its strong backbone of civic engagement," Villaraigosa said.

Garcetti said Echo Park is a model for other neighborhoods.

"A neighborhood where I can go out for a walk, I can climb the 231 stairs next to my house and be right in Elysian Park," Garcetti said.

"I have a wonderful picture of my grandmother as a teenager with her friends, sitting by the bridge over there between the island and the mainland. For three generations my family has either lived, worked or played here in Echo

Echo Park was the only California neighborhood named by the American Planning Association. Santa Monica Beach was named one of the "10 Great Public Spaces."

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