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Designs Finalized for Spring Street Park

By Eric Richardson
Published: Monday, August 16, 2010, at 07:51PM
Spring Street Park Lehrer Architects LA / Bureau of Engineering

The design of the Spring Street Park is centered around an oval lawn and a rectangular plaza built of permeable paving.

A little over 18 months after the surprise announcement that a parking lot on Spring street would become a new park for the Historic Core, the final design is set.

Don't expect to be tossing around a frisbee this year, though. Those involved in the park's development hope to see it ready for the summer of 2012.

An oval-shaped lawn and a rectangular plaza are the central characteristics of the design for the space, as of now simply being called the Spring Street Park.

Plans for the park were first announced in January of 2009, when the city revealed that it had negotiated a deal with Downtown Properties to purchase the parcel that sits between the Rowan Lofts and the El Dorado Lofts. The original $5.6 million purchase price was eventually whittled down to $5.1 million.

Early plans by Lehrer Architects LA featured more decorative elements, continuing a series of geometric paving features through the lawn.

That didn't sit well with some nearby residents. "The whole point of the park should be to escape from the urban and not have to walk into a space that's totally programmed," explained Bert Green, who attended each of the community meetings on the park.

Through those meetings the design was simplified with an emphasis on green space.

"They listened to what we were saying," said Patti Berman, chair of the Downtown L.A. Neighborhood Council's Parks, Recreation and Open Space committee.

Now the city's Bureau of Engineering has begun work on construction drawings, a process that should take four to six months. The construction timeline will depend partially on what the city finds when it starts to dig into the foundations of the torn-down buildings that once stood on the site between 4th and 5th streets.

Still to be resolved is who will operate the park once it does open. Talks have included the creation of a non-profit similar to the one that operates Grand Hope Park, which was built by the city but is operated privately.

Berman, who plans to hold a town hall meeting to present the final design once the current neighborhood council impasse is resolved, said that some of those decisions may not be made until closer to opening day. "We need to see what the city's [financial] position is once we get that far," she said.

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