The first two sections of LA's new Grand Park opened yesterday (with a very grand ribbon cutting) and already seem to be getting plenty of use from county workers and other green-starved locals. The park will be 12 acres when it's all done, and is the first and only component of the big Grand Avenue Project to be completed so far--most of it was paid for with land lease advances from the megaproject's developer, Related Cos. (Incidentally, Related says it will break ground on the first residential part of the project sometime this year.) The Grand Park was designed by local architects Rios Clementi Hale, who put together a daring magenta and green color palette, native plantings, flowering trees, 24 gardens (based on the world's six Floristic Kingdoms: Boreal, Neotropical, Paleotropical, South African, Australian, Antarctic), and of course some good old-fashioned expanses of turf. According to press materials, "Graphic inspiration came from a flattened map of the globe from the 1920s by J.P. Goode, an American cartographer."
The two blocks now open stretch between Grand Avenue and Hill Street and feature a newly-renovated Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain (it shoots water 50 feet in the air); a new entry plaza stepping down from Grand to the fountain; a splash pad (open to the public for splashing!); a performance lawn and stage near Hill Street; a dog run (dogs are allowed in the park on leashes only); a courtyard lined in olive trees; Barbie pink, moveable tables and chairs; and a low-slung building for offices, public restrooms, and a Starbucks. The next block down is set to open in August; the last block, by City Hall, should open in October.
The park will be operated by the Music Center (in conjunction with the county) and it sounds like they're eager to program it up--they plan to host "community events, cultural experiences, festivals, holiday celebrations and the like," and is available for filming. The fun starts this weekend with a National Dance Day Celebration on Saturday and music on Sunday.