June 20, 2013
City News Service
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa joined other city leaders Monday June 17 to open a new pocket park in downtown Los Angeles, while announcing the purchase of a two-acre lot for another park near City Hall. The Spring Street Park, sandwiched between two loft buildings in the “old bank” district near Fourth and Fifth streets, measures a little less than an acre and features a grassy lawn, walking paths and a children’s play area. It is the 16th park to be built atop “under-utilized” property as part of the mayor’s 50 Park Initiative that started in August of last year.
“Spring Street Park is an example of how the 50 Parks Initiative is bringing green space and recreation facilities where they’re needed the most,” Villaraigosa said.
With the downtown population growing in the last decade from 10,000 to 50,000 people, “one of our greatest needs is additional park space,” according to Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes the new park. Quimby Act funds — money subdivision developers pay to local agencies for parks — were used to build the park, which also includes an irrigation system and native plants. The mayor announced the $7.5 million purchase of a vacant lot at First Street and Broadway from the state. Part of the purchase price came Quimby Act funds and the rest from the city, officials said.
The lot was vacated 37 years ago after a state-owned building, damaged by an earthquake, was demolished. The city plans to “remove blight and build more healthy public space” on the site, Villaraigosa said. Homes will be found for several dozen stray cats living on the lot, city officials said.
“This property has sat idle for far too long, needlessly costing taxpayers for maintenance and security,” said Fred Klass, director of the state Department of General Services.