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No One Wants to Turn Pershing Square Into an Urban Beach

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Work is already getting underway on the first new additions to Downtown's concretey Pershing Square (two playgrounds geared toward kids from two to 12), but there are still many decisions to be made about the full-scale makeover that will ideally turn the centrally located park from a much-hated wasteland to a beloved gathering place. Renew Pershing Square, the group in charge of the effort, held info-gathering workshops this week to start getting public input on what people would like to see in Pershing, reports the Downtown News, and, judging by the results, they are probably not going to cover the park in sand.

Organizers showed images of other public parks and plazas around the world and asked attendees to place Post-Its on the ideas they wanted to see used at Pershing Square. (These same images are featured in the online survey that Pershing Square Renew has been conducting since last year.) Live music was a big winner in the court of public opinion, but an "urban beach" was not. Art, literary, and cultural events were also popular picks.

Pershing Square Renew, meanwhile, is also working with city officials to raise more money for the renovations at the park. They received a total of $2 million in September from the Department of Recreation and Parks and developer MacFarlane Partners (which is building a big, two-building mixed-user across the street) that will cover the costs of the first wave of upgrades—building the playgrounds and tearing down some of the concrete walls around the park. Info-gathering will continue through the summer, especially on days when there are events at Pershing.
· A Prescription for Pershing Square: More Music, No Beach [DN]
· The First Steps in Pershing Square's Less-Concretey Makeover [Curbed LA]
· Big Improvements Finally Coming to Awful Pershing Square [Curbed LA]

Pershing Square

532 S. Olive St., Los Angeles, CA