July 13, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

Historic Pershing Square to be re-designed with $2 million in funding

City and business leaders Wednesday announced $2 million in funds to re-envision Pershing Square, a five-acre park in downtown Los Angeles.

MacFarlane Partners announced a $1 million pledge, which will go toward a design contest. The company is developing a 99,000-square-foot property at Fifth and Olive streets next to the park.

The city Recreation and Parks Department is putting in the remaining $1 million to fund infrastructure upgrades that may include new lighting and a playground.

A nonprofit, Pershing Square Renew, is being established to handle fundraising for the revamping effort.

“Pershing Square lies in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and has a storied history as an important public space,” said Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district includes the park.

He said the nonprofit would offer “a unique opportunity to re-imagine this historic square and return it to its former glory as an iconic public space.”

The Pershing Square site was first declared a public gathering place in 1866. It took on its current moniker in 1918 when it was named after Gen. John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing, who led the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. The square was frequently used during the war for militia receptions and speeches.

The park is now the site of summer music concerts and is turned into an outdoor ice skating rink during the winter holidays.

Jeff Berris, managing director of development of MacFarlane Partners, said it is the company’s “distinct pleasure to assist Pershing Square in reaching its full potential as a world-class public space.”

Recreation and Parks General Manager Mike Shull said he is “excited about continuing to build on that success and to evolve Pershing Square into the park that best fits the current and future needs of the downtown community.”

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