DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES — The plan to upgrade Pershing Square won’t be quick and it won’t be easy, and there could be some big money hurdles, among them the potential loss of $700,000 in seed money. Still, the effort to turn around the bedraggled park is a priority, said 14th District City Councilman José Huizar.

Speaking at a lunch today at the Downtown Palm hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum, Huizar reiterated his comment last month that “everything is on the table” when it comes to what to do with the frequently criticized public space bounded by Hill, Olive, Fifth and Sixth streets. He said he is in the process of speaking with potential members of a community task force. Though he would not reveal the size of the panel or who might sit on it, he expects to reveal details “soon.”

“People want to see something done in the park,” he said.

Huizar also noted two potential hurdles. Although Anschutz Entertainment Group has pledged $700,000 in seed money to “re-envision” the park, Huizar acknowledged that the funds will only materialize if the Farmers Field football stadium moves forward. The departure of Tim Leiweke from AEG last week has thrown that project into question.

Huizar said a stalled football stadium would not stop the effort to revamp Pershing Square.

“We’re moving forward regardless of if the money comes from [AEG],” he said.

He also said that he expects “pushback” from supporters of Ricardo Legoretta, who designed the 1994 renovation of the park.

Ultimately, he said, he expects the task force to solicit designs for a facility that has better access points and is more aligned with the surrounding community. He also noted that any project will take a long time.

“Obviously there’s no money right now, but where there’s a will, there’s a way,” he said.

Contact Jon Regardie at regardie@downtownnews.com.

Copyright Los Angeles Downtown News 2013.

(8) comments

BrianMojo
BrianMojo

Let them push. Even ignoring the outdated aesthetics (can we just replace it with something CLASSIC so we don't have to redesign it every 20 years?) this park has terrible flow & design. I hope the money is found somewhere, even if it's not soon.

Jorge Ber-Percivale
Jorge Ber-Percivale

I arrived in downtown LA back in 1980 and Pershing Square was an eye sore them and still today ; The city and private business spent millions and year after year I kept reading the same . To me the only solution is to sale the property and build some tall office and hotel properties ; stop pouring money in a lost cause .

rickrise
rickrise

First, get rid of the pathetic bell tower and other concrete monoliths. Second, close Olive Street to cars and integrate the square with the complex of attractions on the Biltmore block, which would also connect Pershing to the library; this would make great pedestrian flow which would likely include the Library Steps and maybe even 7th and Fig. Bring back lawns and trees and a bit of human-scale charm.

Here's a view of Pershing in 1926 which shows an truly attractive square that people can enjoy visiting:

http://jpg2.lapl.org/pics50/00059979.jpg

Thousands of people live, work, and visit around Pershing now; they--and the city--deserve better than the monument to banality we suffer now.

dsinla
dsinla

How about we give all the resident of Downtown a hammer..and we slowly just chip away all the Concrete?

Bob Harris
Bob Harris

A more significant problem is the surrounding context for Pershing Square. There is no pedestrian attraction along either side of its east or north streets. The number of pedestrians walking north past the Biltmore is small..where would they be going? Or, going north past the Jewelry Center, where would they be going except to the Metro Station in a hurry. The Pershing Square context is what the Counciil Member needs to consider....private development of wonderfully located properties.

Of course Pershing Square itself can be improved, but it needs to be a center of something - first things first.

Travis
Travis

Seeing Pershing Square and Grand Park, one can only wonder as to why there seems to be a deliberate effort to not have any trees downtown. I wonder why ?
When there's time, check out Union Square in San Francisco, .... Hey; I think I'll go there now......

Juanito
Juanito

It all comes down to magic, folks; a sense of heart and soul. I mean: what if Olivet and Sinai were to suddenly disappear, or the carousel at Santa Monica Pier be gone?

Imagine riding a carousel cooked up by artists Peter and Donna Shire under a glass pavilion in Pershing Square?

And the whole place re-conceived, programmed and operated by Disney?

Listen people: if you think that the place as it now exists is bad, consider what it would have become if the winning entry - the grand prize winner in the 1986 Pershing Square Competition had been built??? It'd be a horror.

jsmog
jsmog

"He also said that he expects “pushback” from supporters of Ricardo Legoretta, who designed the 1994 renovation of the park." From who? Everyone I know who works or lives Downtown wanted to string this guy up in '94...

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