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Underground parking garage will be demolished to make way for Civic Center Park

By Hayley Fox
Published: Thursday, July 25, 2013, at 04:28PM
Hayley Fox/blogdowntown

Starting in September, the public will be able to share their ideas on what the future Civic Center Park should like like, and what amenities it should include.

Workers have begun the process of turning a nearly two-acre lot at 1st and Broadway, into a new public park. The space has stood empty since 1976, when the building that was there was damaged in an earthquake and torn down.

Now the land is poised to become Civic Center Park, but there is a lot of preparation that comes with cleaning a lot that has been abandoned for more than 30 years.

Michael Shull is the Assistant General Manager for the Department of Recreation and Parks. He said one of the first steps is demolishing an underground parking garage that's nearly two stories deep.

“It was the original parking structure for the building that was built in the 1930s so it’s actually grossly inadequate for any use under today’s standards, and under our analysis we just decided that its in the best interest to get rid of it,” said Shull.

He said that currently, workers are getting rid of hazardous materials that have accumulated in the basement of the garage.

"Mostly its water that has accumulated over the years and is kind of stagnant and has to be disposed of properly," added Shull.

Before getting rid of the garage, workers also had to round up and remove dozens of feral cats that made their home at the empty Downtown lot. These felines have been placed in shelters.

The Civic Center Park project was announced last month at the opening of another new Downtown green space, the Spring Street Park.

The City of Los Angeles bought the land from the State of California for $7.5 million. The money came from multiple sources, including Quimby fees and the Department of Recreation and Parks capital park development funds.

Shull says that starting in September, the department will seek input from the community about the look of the park and the amenities it should include. By next Spring, demolition at the space should be completed. Civic Center Park could be up-and-running in about three years, said Shull, depending on funding.

The above photo has been updated to reflect the accurate location of the future park.

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