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DTLA's Grand Park to open with two-day celebration

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012, at 08:40AM
Alice Walton

The new Grand Park is set to open this week.

A portion of Downtown's approximately 12-acre Grand Park is scheduled to open this week with a dedication ceremony followed by a two-day public celebration. The expansive park has been discussed by officials for almost a decade and been under construction since 2010.

The new park is bordered by Temple and First streets and Grand Avenue and Spring Street -- the space between Grand and Hill is the only area that will be open this week.

On Thursday, a media event will include a ceremonial ribbon-cutting and an unveiling of the newly restored Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain -- which underwent a $5.2 million makeover to create (among other features) a 6,200-square-foot pool for people to wade in.

Once the press conference has concluded, the park will be open to the public. Official Grand Park hours will be from 6:30 a.m. to dusk, but because of the fountain's nighttime light show, officials expect that residents will sometimes stroll through the park after hours.

This Saturday and Sunday the park will debut to the public with daytime events that include music, food and group dancing. Festivities begin on July 28 at 10 a.m. with a "National Dance Day Celebration" that includes a performance from Cirque du Soleil's "Iris" and free, family-friendly dance classes. On July 29 it's Sunday Music in the Park beginning at 11 a.m. -- and residents are encouraged to bring a picnic and hang out for the afternoon.

Officials are expecting crowds in the thousands for the weekend events.

Metro's offering an added bonus for those using public transit to get to these opening events. Anyone who shows their Metro ticket at the information booth will be entered to win a massive Grand Prize package, which includes a free night's stay at the Omni hotel, restaurant gift cards and tickets to theater and musical performances.

The opening of Grand Park comes a week after City Hall Park re-opened to the public. Councilwoman Jan Perry told Blogdowntown last week that the dual park openings were almost "overwhelming," and an "embarrassment of riches."

"The fact that these all took so long and this [City Hall Park] is a phoenix rising from the ashes, and Grand Avenue [Park] has taken a really long time but it's finally opening and it feels tremendous," said Perry.

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