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In search of a grand park for downtown

Re “Puzzling out a park,” Current,

Dec. 25

Thank you for your continued focus on parks and open space in our city. This series of articles, and professor Martin Kaplan’s efforts to stimulate debate over the future Grand Avenue park, are important and laudable efforts (“When a riot is a good thing,” Dec. 25).

But whatever it ends up looking like, it will not succeed as a regional landmark and resource unless it is accessible to the public; it needs to be in a place that people want to visit and can get to fairly easily.

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Downtown L.A.'s two existing major public spaces -- Pershing Square and the mall between the courthouse and Hall of Administration -- fail because not enough people from across Los Angeles spend much time in downtown. Central Park in New York and Golden Gate Park in San Francisco succeed because they are surrounded by, and connected to, diverse communities and have many uses and activities.

So it’s up to more than the park designers to produce a success here. It will take good planning as the surrounding neighborhood grows and evolves, and a continuing revitalization, growth and diversification of the entire downtown area that connects to it.

LARRY KAPLAN

Los Angeles Area Director

Trust for Public Land

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As a native Angeleno (as was my father), I am thrilled with Bob Sipchen’s proposal for an orchard in the new downtown park (“Can we get dazzling done?” Dec. 25). Not only is it a nod to our agricultural past and a reminder of the days when orange, pomegranate and sapote trees were common, but citrus trees -- with their evergreen foliage and fragrant blossoms -- are the perfect choice.

JOAN KENNEDY

Fullerton

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