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Grand Park live performances expected to continue throughout the summer

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 09:42AM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

The shallow wading area was a hit this weekend -- overflowing with kids and adults.

Downtown's new Grand Park recently opened, attracting about 7,000 Angelenos to its weekend celebration. The fountain was overflowing with kids splashing and lounging in the shallow water -- and organizers said there was a real "cross-section" of people, including downtowners and those from other parts of the city.

Security was out in visible force at the event, with L.A. County Sheriffs posted near the park's entrance and wandering through the event.

"We will definitely always have a security presence," said Howard Sherman, the Chief Operating Officer at the Music Center.

The Music Center is in charge of the new park's programming and maintenance, meaning they'll handle everything from performance scheduling to security. The center has added a whole new department to their list of employees to accommodate staffing needs at the park -- equaling a total of about 25 people, Sherman said.

He added that the Music Center is doing what they can to attract two different audiences; local DTLA residents who can walk their dogs, picnic and enjoy the park on a daily basis, and residents from throughout the city who are brought to the park for special events.

As of now the park hours are 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., according to Sherman, but he said there's still room for adjustments and there's a bit of a "learning curve" when it comes to operating hours.

But what will happen to the park after all the blue fountain dancers, ushers and extra security from the grand opening leave?

"We will never stop paying attention to it," said Sherman.

Concerts and special performances are expected to continue throughout the summer, ramping up to the opening of the remainder of the park this fall. Sherman said the center is "trying to do something every weekend" and working with local performance groups to ensure the shows continue and remain free for the public.

At the park's ribbon-cutting ceremony last week, Walter Lutz of Highland Park was sitting on one of the bright magenta benches watching his six-year-old daughter Scarlette run around on the grass. He said he hopes there continues to be special events at the park, and said the small stage that was built there bodes well.

"I don't think this one thing [the park] is going to revitalize Downtown, but I think it's an important piece of revitalizing Downtown," said Lutz.


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