Griffith Park's soccer complex is getting a $10.5 million makeover.
Officials broke ground Monday on a renovation project at the John Ferraro Athletic Fields complex, coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles and riding a new wave of soccer fever in the United States following the 2014 World Cup.
As ABC7 reports, several Olympic legends were on hand to show their support:
"There are going to be literally hundreds more, maybe thousands more young people who are going to have the opportunity not only to play early, but to represent their country later in life," said Olympian Rafer Johnson.
Currently, the 26-acre complex at Griffith Park has six soccer fields and a rugby field, but most are mostly dirt. The plan is to install synthetic turf that will require washing only once or twice a year. It will will also add lighting and a new parking lot, according to Anita DeFrantz, president of LA84 Foundation, one of the project's funders.
"A lot of the clubs don't want to play there because it's just not as safe as it needs to be for our kids," DeFrantz told KPCC.
So far, $3.5 million has been raised for the renovations. The LA84 Foundation, which was endowed with surplus money from the 1984 Olympic games, has donated $1 million. The city has contributed another $1 million. The other $1.5 million was donated by other foundations and individuals. DeFrantz said she hopes the public, corporations, and other organizations can help raise the rest.
The renovation is expected to be completed one year from now and seems to put Griffith Park in line with other fields used by the city's municipal soccer league. The city's recreation and parks department has posted a list of fields used by the league. We took a spin through Google Earth to see how the fields compared and found that most of them are already green.
Here's where to find those fields and how they stacked up in terms of turf:
GRIFFITH PARK SOCCER FIELD
3401 Riverside Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90027
RIO De LOS ANGELES STATE PARK
1900 N. San Fernando Road, Los Angeles, CA 90065
SALESIAN HIGH SCHOOL
960 South Soto Street; Los Angeles, CA 90023
MARSHALL HIGH SCHOOL
3939 Tracy Street, Los Angeles, CA 90027
BALBOA SPORT CENTER
17015 Burbank Blvd. Encino, Ca. 91316
MAR VISTA RECREATION CENTER
11430 Woodbine Ave.; Los Angeles, CA 90066
SEPULVEDA BASIN SPORTS COMPLEX
6201 N. Balboa Blvd. Encino, Ca. 91316
JOHN FERRARO SOCCER COMPLEX
On Zoo Drive in Griffith Park (no mailing address)
Note: Admittedly, this is not an on-the-ground confirmation. If you use any of the parks and know the situation to be different, please let us know in the comments so we can update the list.