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It's Official: The Arts District Has A Park

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Though it's only half an acre in size, the Los Angeles Arts District officially has its very first real park. As Curbed LA Reports, the park is located at the intersection of Fifth and Hewitt Streets, just across the street from that bastion of holistic artistic expression, Urth Caffe.

Amenities at the new park include children's play equipment, a shaded performance space, a mural wall, and some some grass and picnic tables. The park itself was designed by a collaboration between architecture firm John Friedman and Alice Kimm Architects, and Los Angeles chief landscape architect, Rick Fisher.

"The demographics of the downtown population is we have a younger population, but once those young couples start having families, they move out because we don't have those amenities," L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar said to KPCC.

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Not so long ago, the park was nothing more than a disused parking lot. Though plans to transform the land into a park have been around since at least 2011, Jerry Brown's dissolution of the Community Redevelopment Agency (which owned the park) tossed the plans aside. It wasn't until Councilmember Huizar's office managed to earmark $2.1 million in Quimby Fees (fees paid by land developers for park development nearby construction projects) that the process could move forward.

Though construction officially started nearly two years ago, in late 2014, the discovery of both soil contamination and some curious historical artifacts at the site delayed construction further. Along with some clothing and roller skates from the 1800s, construction crews also found medicine bottles of a drug intended to treat gonorrhea. This lead speculators to conclude that, at one point, the land was once the site of a brothel, according to Downtown News.

Anyway, the next step for the park is for the presently blank mural wall to be, well, muralified. The first muralist will be Man One, who will reportedly get to work in the coming weeks.

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