As a Media event, which this Writer attended, the opening of Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles proved to be as grand as the Park itself. The official opening of the twelve acre park took place with local political leaders, an traditional ribbon cutting by Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who acted as chair for the twelve year project, and then a procession of children representing all five districts of Los Angeles County and its eighty eight cities.
Grand Park is located in the heart of downtown and spans four blocks. The first two blocks, from Grand Avenue to Hill Street officially opened the last weekend of July while the other two blocks, from Hill Street to Spring Street will open in the Fall. When complete it will offer a huge variety of uses--events, celebrations, community activities as well as lawns with tables and chairs for picnics or just relaxing.
The opening ceremonies dramatized the diversity of the county's many ethnic communities with the procession of the children in a variety of costumes, a marching band and a dance performance at the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, a center piece for the Park. The Diavolo Dance Theater choreographed the dancers who moved through the flowing waters of the fountain.
The Park was financed with a $56 million dollar budget, $50 million from Related Companies as prepaid rent for ground leases. Rios Clementi Hale Studios designed the park with distinct features and functions for each of the four blocks. These include an olive court, performance lawn with a small stage, gardens with plants of 140 different species as well as movable cafe tables and chairs.
Grand Park will be operated and programmed by The Music Center which is responsible for all operations and maintenance as well as private party rentals which will be available. Although not yet complete the Park presents a most pleasant vista as it frames City Hall at the far end. At completion it will stretch from the Music Center to City Hall.
Supervisor Gloria Molina's vision for Grand Park as a place where people can gather either as groups or individuals for entertainment or just relaxation has indeed become a reality.
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