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L.A.'s Grand Park opens to cheers, dips in dramatic fountain

July 26, 2012 |  1:54 pm

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Los Angeles politicians and billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad took off their dress shoes and celebrated together in the renovated Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain on Thursday to cap off an opening ceremony for downtown's new Grand Park.

Grand ParkThe hour-long event included an elaborate dance performance, live music, a reading from California's poet laureate and speeches from city and county leaders, who called the 12-acre park a major milestone for downtown's revitalization.

"We have created a much-needed amenity -- green space for downtown that is undergoing its own renaissance," L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina said.

Photos: Downtown L.A.'s Grand Park 

"The vision of a park for the people has been realized," L.A. City Councilwoman Jan Perry added.

The celebration will continue this weekend with a variety of community events.

The park begins along Grand Avenue with a dramatic view of the renovated fountain and the tall white crest of Los Angeles City Hall. Parking ramps that once hid the fountain from pedestrians have been torn down, and the fountain is now programmed to run a colorful light show. A new "splash-pool" has been added beneath it for kids to play in.

The next "block" of the park includes a performance lawn, stage, a Starbucks and public restrooms. Throughout both spaces there are bright pink tables, benches and chairs, small gardens and palm trees. Winding paths run along both edges.

Two lower sections of the park — a plaza area between Hill Street and Broadway, and a much larger event lawn across from City Hall — will open in coming months, officials said.

Programming at Grand Park will be coordinated by the Music Center, which is operated by a nonprofit organization that manages the nearby Walt Disney Concert Hall, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatre.

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-- Sam Allen

Photo: Dancers perform in the renovated Arthur J. Will Memorial fountain during the opening ceremony of Grand Park in Los Angeles. Credit: Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times

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