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Groundbreaking party for Civic Park in downtown Los Angeles.

On Thursday business, city and civic leaders all joined together for the groundbreaking party of the 12-acre Civic Park. The Civic Park cost $56 million and is part of the Grand Avenue Project, which has been designed as a four block Los Angeles landmark between the Los Angeles City Hall and the Music Center. Although construction has just begun the Civic Park is anticipated to have an event lawn that can hold up to 20,000 people with a performance stage across from the LA City Hall for concerts, festivals and rallies. At the end of the park the historic 1960’s Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain, which now will be turned off until the opening of Civic Park will be renovated to allow 50 feet water jets.

Billionaire Eli Broad, along with fellow philanthropist Jim Thomas, co-founded the Grand Avenue Project in hopes of establishing a well established downtown Los Angeles. Broad envisions the Civic Park to be an “urban oasis in the heart of downtown.” Broad believes, “Civic Park promises to be a central gathering place where people from all neighborhoods in the city will be drawn to celebrate special events like New Year’s Eve, Cinco de Mayo and July 4th.” Civic Park’s funding was made possible by a $50 million pre-paid rent for ground leases by the Grand Avenue Project developers, The Related Companies, as well as other city funds. The Grand Avenue project has been slightly delayed by the current economic recession, but ultimately plans to include a hotel, restaurants, shops, and 2,600 apartments and condominiums.

The Civic Park project is estimated to be complete by the summer of 2012. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa states, the “groundbreaking at Civic Park represents a crucial step forward in revitalizing downtown’s cultural and economic vibrancy.” Mayor Villaraigosa believes that “by adding more green space in downtown, the park will improve the quality of life for local residents and will spur economic growth by attracting businesses and residential development to develop around it.” In addition, Mayor Villaraigosa states the Grand Avenue Project will create 29,000 construction jobs. For more information about Mayor Villaraigosa’s views on Civic Park, please visit his blog http://mayor.lacity.org/MeettheMayor/TheBlog/index.htm#Civic%20Park%.

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