DTLA – Last month, a team of city representatives and designers unveiled the latest details and renderings for the First and Broadway Park. The updates show a project with some green space, hardscape pathways and a three-level restaurant complex with outdoor seating. Plans call for the $28 million park ($28 million!) to blend seamlessly into the adjacent Grand Park.
City representatives said the goal is to create a park that caters to a changing Civic Center, as the community is slated to see a proliferation of office and housing high-rises. FAB Park might indeed serve that audience, but a look at the design sparks to mind something that is sorely missing in Downtown Los Angeles: public recreation facilities
This proposed park, like almost every other park in Downtown, lacks the outdoor basketball courts that lure people for pick-up games or league play (Gladys Park in Skid Row has a court, but few people from greater Downtown will go there to ball out). FAB Park doesn’t have volleyball or handball courts. The design is bereft of the fields that could attract legions of softball- and baseball-playing Downtowners in the evenings and on weekends.
We’re singling out FAB Park, but only because the facility, scheduled to break ground next year and open in 2022, is now in the public mindset. The bigger problem is that there are zero plans to create any playing courts or fields — why should Downtown lack something that is taken for granted in many residential neighborhoods?
Public athletic facilities are good for a community. They provide an opportunity to exercise and can bring people together. The recreation centers run by the city and sprinkled across Los Angeles improve every neighborhood where they exist. Yet there is no talk about bringing one to Downtown.