Residents of an East Los Angeles neighborhood will breathe cleaner air after a new $17.8 million air treatment facility opened Friday.
The air treatment facility, installed along with a new park in Boyle Heights, was designed to eliminate foul smelling odors that plague the community.
Nestled between four major freeways, factories and two major sewer lines, Boyle Heights has long suffered the negative effects of infrastructure and industry.
Officials said the facility is meant to contain, collect and treat odors in the area's sewer system, which will reduce foul odors.
Community residents welcomed the new resource and green space, saying it was long overdue.
"Growing up it was normal to smell the vinegar from El Pato sauce and every other odor we get from the neighborhood, Farmer Johns, we get that odor frequently," said Margarita Amador, a Boyle Heights resident who grew up in a public housing complex next to an industrial area near the new facility.
"It's pretty bad. It smells terrible, especially along the river, so it's a great relief they have this air treatment facility," said Veronica Bombela who works in Boyle Heights.
The facility is the third of its kind in Los Angeles. It was introduced as a result of a lawsuit brought on by South L.A. residents fed up with sewer line odors in their neighborhood.
The new project sits on a one-third acre site, located at the intersection of Mission Road and Jesse Street. Officials said it's first in a series of improvements along the L.A. River.
"Growing up here, the factories were a playground and it was not safe. But in creating space like this, it's more safe, more accessible," said Councilman Jose Huizar, who secured a $2.5 million state fund for the changes.
Additional improvements, including a new soccer park, bike paths and pedestrian walkways are slated to open in 2019, connecting residents to the new Sixth Street bridge.
The Department of Transportation and LA Sanitation and the Bureau of Engineering will also be constructing a new roundabout on the vacant city land next to the Air Treatment Facility, officials said.