By Christian Esteban
The new Grand Park, a 12-acre and four-block public park in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, officially opened the first two blocks of the park on July 26, 2012 during a civic dedication ceremony.
The event began with opening remarks from Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who saw the park as a realization of her dream to see a great park in a location that is centered on a diverse community. â€œGrand Park was designed around a grand themeâ€“the amazing diversity of our countyâ€™s many ethnic communities, where 244 languages are spoken,â€ said Supervisor Molina.Â â€œOur goal was to make sure that each of these communities feels like this is their park. With Grand Parkâ€™s powerful yet playful iconic fountain, relaxing promenades and multi-dimensional performance spaces, Los Angeles now has a place where all county residents and visitors can gather in a park that is truly for everyone. And thanks in large part to Related Companiesâ€™ $50 million upfront contribution; we have made this park happen.â€
Supervisor Molina was joined on stage by Los Angeles Councilwoman Jan Perry, Grand Avenue Committee Co-Chair Eli Broad, Related California vice president Bea Hsu, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Zev Yaroslavsky, and Los Angeles County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Don Knabe, and Mike Antonovich.
After the committeeâ€™s speeches, the live performances began with a colorful procession of 88 children and youth from various Los Angeles County districts, followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the unveiling of the newly restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain.
The public is now welcome to enjoy the first two blocks of the park, which features the Fountain Plaza, Olive Court and Performance Lawn.
The Fountain Plaza features the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain which was originally built in the 1960â€™s, stone benches, outdoor dining area and its own Starbucks.Â The Olive Court is a large picnic area that is surrounded by trees and flowering plants.Â The Performance Plaza is a green open space with a modern stage; equipped with sound and lighting for quality entertainment under the skies.
Grand Park is located between The Music Center and City Hall in downtown Los Angeles.Â It is open to the public every day from 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Pedestrian entrances to blocks one and two of the park are located at 200 North Grand Avenue and 221 North Hill Street. The park spaces will be available for both public and private events.
Parking is available in Lot 10 on Hill Street between First and Temple Streets and Lot 17 at Olive and First Streets (enter from Olive Street). Parking is $2.00 every 20 minutes ($10 maximum) and $9 on weekends.
A project of Los Angeles Grand Avenue Authority, Grand Park provides a great environment for community events, cultural experiences, holiday celebrations, and much more to the visitors and the Los Angeles County communities.Â Other public inaugural activities are scheduled on July 28, 2012 (National Dance Day Celebration) and on July 29, 2012 (Sunday Music in the Park).
The remaining two blocks of the park located from Hill Street to Spring Street will be open to the public by fall 2012.
For more information, contact the park staff at 213-972-8080 or visit the website http://www.grandparkla.org/.