L.A. Civic Center Park Debuts
The12-acre Grand Park is in the heart of the Los Angels Civic Center district. The first two blocks of the park are complete, with blocks three and four expected for completion this fall. The Performance Lawn (which includes a small stage) is the largest green space in downtown L.A. (plenty of ''hot magenta'' portable cafe tables and chairs). Note: Don't cry for Angelinos, they have plenty of green space. Just northwest of the Civic Center is Griffith Park, the ''largest municipal park with urban wilderness area in the U. S.'' (over 4,210 acres). NYC's Central Park, by contrast, is only 843 acres.
Photos courtesy of Rios Clementi Hale Studios. Photos by Tom Bonner and Jim Simmons
L.A. Civic Center Park Debuts
Los Angeles County supervisors, city leaders and a procession of 88 children (representing the county's 88 cities) turned out at the L.A. Civic Center at noon, July 26, on a bright, sunny Southern California day to inaugurate the completing of the first two blocks of Grand Park. The ''Grand'' name derives from the park being bounded on the northwest side by N. Grand Ave.
The coming out party marked the culmination of 12 years of planning.
Blocks one and two feature the restored Arthur Will Memorial Fountain and plaza, which includes a splash pad; new buildings (housing the park office and public restrooms); Olive Court (plaza with olive trees and Mediterranean plants; and the Performance Lawn. Blocks three and four will open in fall 2012.
The restored Arthur Will Fountain sprays up 50 feet. Among the park's opening ceremonies was a dance performance of the ''blue people'' (in one-piece tight outfits with hoods) cavorting around and under the fountain. The design challenges of the landscape architects at Rios Clementi Hale Studios were a site divided by two city streets and a 90-foot grade change, mitigated by ADA-accessible ramps and broad steps that created central terraces leading down into the park from North Grand Avenue to the fountain and splash pad.
L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina, the person most publically associated with the project (she chairs the Grand Avenue Authority), noted this phase of the park was completed on time and on budget. She thanked Related Companies for its pivotal $50 million contribution. Bill Witte, president of Related California, was in attendance. Eli Board, founding co-chair of the Grand Avenue Authority, stressed that the park was built without any taxpayer money. During the ceremony, Molina ceremonially turned a wheel to restart the restored fountain, which had been off since the park's groundbreaking two years ago.
The civic dedication included a dance performance choreographed by Jacques Heim, artistic director of Diavolo Dance Theater, a poem written in honor of the park by California poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, and the premiere of ''A Fanfare for Grand Park,'' an original composition by David O, performed by current and alumni members of the L.A. Unified School District All City Honor Marching Band.
Los Angeles-based landscape architects at Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the park as four distinct blocks, intertwining some 140 native and drought-tolerant plant species into 24 gardens. Many site trees were preserved to complement the addition of more than 300 new trees.
The park is operated and maintained by the Music Center.
Grand Park Team
Developer: Grand Avenue Park Development, LLC (Related Companies)
Landscape architect: Rios Clementi Hale Studios
Charles Pankow Builders
Environmental graphics: Sussman/Prejza
Fountain design consultants: Fluidity Design Consultants