New Sports Field at Expo Park
Photo: Expo Center Sports Field after renovations.
In 2007 Friends of Expo Center, a 501 (c)(3) organization established to develop the site of the 1932 Los Angeles Swim Stadium and construct a state-of-the-art recreational and community center, took a survey of the local community to assess their needs and were motivated to undertake its most significant endeavor since building Expo Center Ė building a $6 million state-of the-art Multiuse Sports Field on State-owned land across the street from Expo Center. Previously a grassy lot used for community sports activities and spillover parking for Coliseum events, the play field was in very poor condition due to excessive use, lack of adequate funding and proper maintenance.
The first step toward building the field was taken by the Friends in early 2008 when it facilitated a land use and operating agreement with the State of California and the City of Los Angeles. This agreement authorized the Friends to build the Multiuse Sports Field and gives the City the responsibility for managing sports programming and activities on the field. The State will have continued access to the field for the times that additional Coliseum parking is needed.
The new Soboroff Sports Field at Expo Center accommodates a variety of field sports and recreational activities year round. The Sports Field can be striped for two AYSO U12 Regulated Fields suitable for 10-12 aged boys and girls or it can be used in its entirety for football, baseball, flag football, soccer, lacrosse, and hockey. There are six portable bleachers for spectators and a restroom facility that will serve the play fields and an adjacent corner park that is slated to be built by the State. Other improvements include new lighting, landscaping, and fencing that beautify and define the space. A landscaped pedestrian walkway on Vermont Avenue which has been extended to Martin Luther King Blvd. and around the corner to Menlo Avenue. Public safety will be enhanced with security cameras monitored by Expo Center and the LAPD.
During the early phase of the process, The Friends sought input from the Los Angeles Police Department regarding design components that would improve public safety on the fields as well as on the volatile corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Vermont Avenue. Assistant Chief Earl Paysinger, a Friendsí Board member, asked Deputy Chief Charles L. Beck to help with the project. Based on the LAPDís recommendations, changes were made to the lighting, security camera, restroom siting, and fencing components of the playfield. For example, Chief Beck recommended that in addition to installing security cameras that will observe activity on the fields, they also should monitor Vermont Avenue and the Vermont/MLK corner. Cameras focused on these locations are expected to be a significant deterrent to criminal activity and greatly enhance local residentsí sense of safety. As a result of the LAPDís input, Expo Centerís Sports Field plans now include safety components that will not only benefit users of the play field but the entire community.
The communityís need for open space guarantees heavy utilization of the fields. Local schools and community groups are most likely to use it for sports and field activities during the day. Evenings will accommodate community residents who will gather for informal soccer games and other field sports. A portable field covering system will give it a unique versatility since it will have the ability to adapt to community events and occasional spillover parking from USC games.
The dedication of the new field was held on Saturday October 17, at 10am with activities for the family. Special Invited Guests were Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa, Councilman Bernard Parks, Chivas USA, and the Los Angeles Sparks. For more info go to www.expositionpark.org.