Pershing Square and Its Future Direction

We are writing to express our disappointment in Sam Hall Kaplan's column, "A Lesson for Pershing Square."

We are concerned that Kaplan has criticized the approach that is being launched to revitalize Pershing Square without understanding the planning process currently being developed by the Pershing Square Management Assn., the Community Redevelopment Agency and the Department of Recreation and Parks.

These groups are dedicated to exactly the same thoughtful process for revitalization that Kaplan advocates. Further, the effort is one which will involve substantial public discussion and decision making by representative public bodies.

The CRA has recognized the potential that exists for establishing a public/private partnership to restore Pershing Square to its fullest potential. The CRA encourages the formation of nonprofit public benefit organizations and frequently joins forces with them to achieve the goals of the agency.

The CRA has initiated a number of important revitalization projects working with these nonprofit community groups. Pershing Square Management Assn. is only one example; the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Los Angeles Theater Center, the Single Room Occupancy Housing Corp. and the Union Rescue Mission are others. The agency has wisely stepped in to lend not just money to the Pershing Square effort, but the experience and direction of its commission and staff.

In the future, we hope that Kaplan will avail himself of the large number of people who are working to bring about positive changes in this historic and significant park. We believe he will find that we share his goals of seeing this important historic square restored. And we believe, as he does, that it must be done in a socially responsible manner.



Los Angeles

Ratkovich is chairman and Smith is executive director of Pershing Square Management Assn.

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