It certainly took a while, but the Arts District now has its very own city park. The half-acre little parcel of public space is perhaps the final puzzle piece in the neighborhood’s impressive transformation from Downtown’s industrial core to a thriving live-work community and yuppie wonderland.
The small park’s creation wasn’t an easy process though. Located at the intersection of Hewitt and Fifth, it was first proposed back in 2011 when the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency was still active. Unfortunately, the project failed to receive state funding and when the CRA was dissolved the next year, its future was cast into doubt.
Since then, Councilmember José Huizar, who reps the area, managed to secure $2.1 million in funding for the park by tapping into developer-paid Quimby fees. Of course, the project hit another snare in 2015, when workers unearthed contaminated soil and some truly scandalous 19th century artifacts—including women’s stockings, roller skates, and gonorrhea medicine.
Those developments triggered a long delay, but construction resumed earlier this year and the park officially opened to the public Saturday. The pocket park includes a playground, mural wall (naturally), and a band shell for live performances.
"New green space has been sorely needed in the Arts District for so long," Huizar said at the park’s opening. "[A]nd for the community’s sake, I am pleased that this momentous day is finally here."
The park was designed by the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Engineering, Architectural Division (Rick Fisher, Chief Landscape Architect), with John Friedman Alice Kimm Architects.
According to a press release from Huizar’s office, prolific local street artist Man One will soon get to work on the park’s first mural.