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Politics, government and public life for Southern California

LA councilman balks at plans for Jay-Z summer festival in Grand Park (updated)

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Map of proposed closures | Proposed street closures | Huizar's motion

Plans for Jay-Z  to mount a massive two-day festival at Grand Park this summer are being questioned by the city councilman who represents the downtown area.

Councilman Jose Huizar says he wasn't informed of the Made in America festival, which promoters say will attract 50,000 people August 30 and 31. Huizar has introduced a motion asking city departments to stop issuing permits for the event until his office is briefed on the plans. The festival could shut down the streets and sidewalks surrounding City Hall and Grand Park — in some cases for as many as 10 days.

"When you're talking about a proposed event of this magnitude, with 50,000 (people) expected, multiple-day street closures, beer and for-profit ticket sales at a public park, it is imperative that we have an open, inclusive dialogue in ensuring it's a good fit for the neighborhood and if it is, that concerns are mitigated well in advance," Huizar said in a statement to KPCC. 

Huizar's motion pre-empted the official announcement of the event.

The festival is produced by the prominent music industry firm Live Nation. Made in America, which is co-sponsored by Budweiser and the United Way, was held in Philadelphia in 2012 and 2013.  

Budweiser Made In America Festival 2013

Live Nation's initial event application to the city states the festival will be "a 50,000 person capacity ticketed event." It wasn't clear whether that's 50,000 per day or for the weekend. Grand Park's capacity is 25,000 but the event proposes to spill out to adjoining streets, which could accommodate a bigger crowd. A Live Nation spokesperson was not immediately available to comment. 

The festivals in Philadelphia were held at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and, according to various reports, attracted 40,000-50,000 people each day.

One of the concerns noted in Huizar's motion is that Live Nation's permit application calls for the closure of sidewalks and streets in the Civic Center area in the weekdays before and after the event, which is planned for the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. The event would extend beyond the park's boundaries, with one stage on the City Hall steps facing Spring Street. Another stage would be at the intersection of 1st and Spring streets. A third stage would be within the park's boundaries.

In his motion, Huizar wrote: "To date, Council District 14 has not been notified of the specifics of the event by the applicant nor by the affected city departments although discussions within the city family have taken place and significant public safety and logistical concerns have been raised by various departments."

A spokesman for Mayor Eric Garcetti would only comment briefly Tuesday, saying: "We are in discussions about a potential event. If and when details become more firmly set, we will engage additional stakeholders. We all share the goal of a fun event that showcases downtown and boosts our economy."

Huizar specifically wants the L.A. Police Department, Bureau of Street Services and the Department of Transportation to withhold permits until his office is given details of the event. Spokesmen for LADOT and the Bureau of Street Services said neither department has issued any permits for the event.

Thirty partial or full street closures are proposed, with the initial ones beginning Aug. 23 — one week before the festival.

A spokesman for the LAPD confirmed the department was initially opposed to the festival because of the crowd size and the fact that it would shut down a large section of downtown. However, Commander Andrew Smith said LAPD is now working with the Sheriff's Department on providing security for the event. The park is operated jointly by the city and county.

Huizar introduced a second motion to create a working group of downtown residents and business owners who can oversee street closure requests for major events. Both motions were referred to the council's Public Works Committee.

Map of proposed closures

Los Angeles Street Closures: Budweiser Made In America 2014

List of proposed closures by date
Date Street Closure Type From To
Aug. 23 to Sept. 4 N. Main Street Sidewalk and curb lane Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 24 to Aug. 25 N. Spring Street Full closure Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 24 to Sept. 3 N. Spring Street Sidewalk closure Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 24 to Sept. 3 N. Hill Street Full closure, including sidewalk and curb lanes Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 N. Spring Street Minimum two lanes Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 25 to Sept. 3 N. Grand Avenue Sidewalk and curb lane Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 26 to Sept. 2 N. Broadway Sidewalk and curb lane Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 S. Spring Street Full closure, including sidewalk and curb lanes 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 1st Street Sidewalk and curb lane Main Street Olive Street
Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 N. Hill Street Curb lane 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 Broadway Curb lane 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 N. Broadway Full closure Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 28 to Sept. 2 1st Street Full closure Main Street Olive Street
Aug. 28 to Sept. 3 N. Spring Street Full closure Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 S. Spring Street Full closure 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 N. Hill Street Full closure 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 Broadway Full closure 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 29 to Sept. 2 N. Main Street Full closure 1st Street 2nd Street
Aug. 30 to Sept. 1 N. Main Street Full closure Temple Street 1st Street
Aug. 30 to Sept. 3 N. Grand Avenue Full closure Temple Street 1st Street
Huizar's motion

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