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45 Years Ago: Council Committees Back Plan to Put Convention Center in Elysian Park

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, February 23, 2010, at 11:31AM
Elysian Park Convention Center Rendering Los Angeles Times

A 1965 rendering of the proposed Elysian Park Convention Center shows a domed structure that would have risen on land next to Dodger Stadium.

On February 23, 1965, a pair of City Council committees voted to back a plan to build a new Los Angeles Convention Center in the heart of Elysian Park. 63 of the parks 575 acres would have been given up to the $10 million plan, which seemed to have all the backing it needed before it was eventually undermined through a campaign organized by the Citizens Committee to Save Elysian Park.

Mayor Sam Yorty was a major backer of the Elysian Park plan, which would have placed the Convention Center near the corner of Stadium Way and Scott Avenue. Architect Charles Luckman designed a dome-shaped structure that would have brought 485,000 square feet of convention space.

For a time, it looked like Los Angeles might actually end up with two convention centers. At the same time, the Coliseum Commission was pushing a competing $6.5 million plan to build an underground exhibit hall next to the Sports Arena. That facility was originally planned to contain 250,000 square feet of space, with meeting rooms to seat 7,300.

The Citizens Committee, which was organized for the Convention Center fight but remains active today, rallied public support for the neglected park space. Supporters mailed leaves to City Hall, and Supreme Court Justice William Douglas paid a visit to urge his support for retaining the site for recreation.

The standoff finally came to a conclusion in August of 1966, when the City selected 31 acres at Pico and Figueroa as the center's new home. The facility eventually opened in July of 1971.


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