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A Tiny Block, but a Multitude of Uses During Park(ing) Day

By Samantha Page
Published: Tuesday, September 16, 2008, at 06:31PM
DSC00236 [Flickr]

The corner of Winston and Main streets, the upcoming site of the DLANC-sponsored Park(ing) Day LA pocket park

In the photo at left, you can see the corner of Winston and Main streets on a sunny Sunday afternoon. It's empty.

On Friday, that same spot will be brimming with basketball, artists, academics and astroturf. The west end of Winston (between Werdin and Main) will be closed to traffic, and the Downtown Los Angeles Neighborhood Council (DLANC) will be playing host to a one-day park in what Councilmember Jan Perry describes as a "a can't miss neighborhood event that offers a little something for everyone!"

At 10am sharp, there will be an exhibition game featuring Skid Row 3 on 3 - "It's not a park without basketball," says Gunnar Hand, a planner with the County of Los Angeles who is DLANC's Director of Public Workforce. After the game, the hoop will remain up for the rest of the day so that anyone can stop by and shoot around.

On the west end of the cordoned off area will be information tables for the space's sponsors: DLANC, the Central City East Association, the Community Redevelopment Agency and the American Institute of Architects. Ashley Zarella, DLANC's Director of Private Sector Workforce, says that they are looking for "the most partnerships and buy-ins from the community possible," so if your group is interested in tabling, please contact Hand or Zarella at the emails listed below.

Two models will offer the chance to conceptualize Downtown's future. In June, interns from EDAW (who is hosting another Parking Day site on 5th street) presented their plan for Park 101. Their model of what Downtown would look like with a park built over the 101 freeway will be on display. Contrasting with that piece's architecture-school detail is James Rojas' eight by ten foot model of Downtown built out of legos and blocks. Kids (and adults) are welcome to play urban designer.

And there's more! Little Radio will have dj's and live music throughout the day, and Crewest will be doing live art. Crewest director Man One says that one thing they want to emphasize is "a park can be something creative - an Art Park!" One of the goals of the project is to "bring everyone together," says Zarella. "It is for people who live and work here, and people who live or work here."

Finally, for the pups who live (and work?) here, local pet stores Pet Project, Pussy and Pooch, and Bark Place will all be contributing to a dog park, midway down the block.

Award-winning design firm DMJM will be contributing a design graphic to the astroturf. Zarella, also of DMJM, says that they are hoping the unique design, created specifically for Park(ing) Day LA, will convey the "architectural value of a parking spot."

The project is "illustrating that automobiles take up way too much of our space," says Hand. Given the wide variety of uses that DLANC has managed to bring together for Friday, it's hard to disagree.

Contacts: Gunnar Hand, DLANC Director of Public Workforce (gunnar.hand@dlanc.com); Ashley Zarella, DLANC Director of Private Workforce: (ashley.zarella@dlanc.com)

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Park(ing) Day LA

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