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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright Los Angeles Downtown News 2013.