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Can L.A. Recapture the "Green Heart" of Downtown?

An editorial in the Los Angeles Downtown News commends burgeoning efforts to rethink the city's historic Pershing Square, and offers some ideas for principles to help guide the process.
February 28, 2013, 8am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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There was a time when Pershing Square was "the place for a fashionable foot-ramble." Check out the historic images in this post on LAist for proof. After successive face lifts, however, the park located in the center of downtown is now one of the area's "most perplexing conundrums."

"It’s a huge public space that, by virtue of its design, is used by relatively few members of the public. It’s a park with very little grass. Although it has a lively and well-curated entertainment schedule, it is a location that many area workers and residents avoid because they are put off by the homeless individuals who use the park sometimes as an oasis from the brutal life on the streets of Skid Row and sometimes for activities not worthy of sympathy."

The recent announcement by City Councilman José Huizar that "Anschutz Entertainment Group has agreed to provide $700,000 in seed money to rethink the park," provides a new opportunity to right historic wrongs.

"Repositioning Pershing Square seems like an immense idea, and we question if someone can ever again bring together so many parties — building owners, local residents, representatives of the homeless community, etc. — and get them all to agree upon needs and specific changes." However the editors are confident that Huizar can lead such an effort.

"Reinventing Pershing Square is an idea whose time, we hope, has come again. We’re glad to hear that everything will be on the table. Now, it’s time to bring out that table."

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Published on Tuesday, February 26, 2013 in Los Angeles Downtown News
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