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Help Coming for Dead Lawn at New LAPD HQ

By Eric Richardson
Published: Wednesday, December 02, 2009, at 12:20PM
LAPD Lawn Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Heavily damaged by a recent gala, the nearly one-acre lawn on the 2nd street side of the new Police Administration Building should soon be brought back to life.

Two and a half months after the unveiling of a new park as part of the Police Administration Building, Downtown residents have to be wondering just what kind of a gift they actually received. The nearly one-acre lawn on 2nd street is more dead than alive, having been heavily damaged by a November gala put on by the Los Angeles Police Foundation.

Thankfully, that should be changing in the next few weeks.

The police department is currently working with the contractor who originally installed the lawn to schedule its replacement, according to Rhonda Sims-Lewis, Commanding Office of LAPD's Administration and Technical Services Bureau.

The non-profit Police Foundation will pay for the damages, currently estimated at $13,800. That number could go up if damage to the irrigation system is discovered. The money will come from an insurance policy, not from the $900,000 the event raised for Police equipment, training and youth programs.

"We're responsible and we're taking care of it," said Police Foundation President Karen Oleon Wagener. "Originally, what we wanted to do was have the tent on the 1st street side and not even touch the lawn. For a variety of reasons, including permitting and city restrictions, we couldn't do that."

Seeing the lawn in its current state has been tough on Melendrez, the firm that designed the landscaping that surrounds the new building. "It's kind of like buying a new car," said firm principal Scott Baker, "and somebody just keyed it."

The firm had just completed its final walk-thru and signoffs when setup for the November 7 event began. "We're somewhat handcuffed," said Baker, "in that we can provide commentary, but ... we're contractually done at this time and they can choose to listen or not listen."

While the dead lawn has been a bit of a black eye for the building's community presence, everyone involved is excited about the green space and its long-term benefit. "We're thrilled and delighted about the building and way the community has responded to it," said Wagener.

Melendrez' Matson Walter agrees. "It seems like the neighborhood has embraced it and made it their space," he said.

Perhaps quickest to make use of the park space were Downtown's dog owners. While canine urine can pose its own problems for grassy spaces, Walter thinks the size of the lawn will save it from too splotchy a fate. While no grass is truly dog-resistant, care was taken to choose a strain that recovers quickly.

That's probably a good thing. Downtown dogs probably don't carry insurance for damages.

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