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Downtown Los Angeles Grand Park to be renamed in honor of Supervisor Gloria Molina


Dressed in Gloria Molina’s signature royal purple, Los Angeles County Supervisors voted Tuesday to rename downtown Grand Park in honor of the pioneering politician who played a pivotal role in creating the green space.

The dedication comes a week after Molina, 74, said she was living with “very aggressive” terminal cancer. The announcement prompted Supervisor Hilda Solis to draft a motion to change the Grand Park’s name to Gloria Molina Grand Park. A plaque will be placed in the park in her honor.

Molina made history throughout her time in politics as the first Latina elected to the state Assembly, the Los Angeles City Council and the county Board of Supervisors. Molina spent 23 years on the Board of Supervisors, where he represented the 1st District from 1991 to 2014. Molina’s district stretched from Koreatown, Pico-Union and East Los Angeles to east Pomona and included much of the San Gabriel Valley.

Molina’s family, friends and colleagues recounted Tuesday Molina’s fight to create the park, which stretches three blocks between City Hall and the Music Center. The soon-to-be-renamed 12-acre park serves as the grassy backbone of the Civic Center, connecting County Hall to City Hall.

“It was her insistence, her tenacity and her perseverance that kept the project going,” said Molina’s husband, Ron Martinez, who said his wife was bedridden and unable to attend Tuesday’s meeting. “Gloria followed her instincts.”

Molina pushed the city and county to create the park as part of the Grand Avenue redevelopment project, which saw two high-rise towers facing Walt Disney Concert Hall.

“She fought very hard to redevelop a concrete jungle outside the Administration Hall into an open green space, which has been a beacon of hope for many artists and family gatherings,” said Solís, who, like her colleagues , had clipped a bright purple extension into her hair in honor of Molina.

Former supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who worked with Molina, recalled how Molina, whom he called “indefatigable,” refused to let the developer delay a promise to put at least $50 million toward the park. When the Great Recession hit, the developer kept trying to delay it.

Former Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina was a driving force behind the creation of Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles. She will now bear her name.

(Soudi Jimenez / Today)

But Molina did not give in.

“Then they came back for another year: ‘We need to postpone this, this is ridiculous. We can’t spend $50 million on a park when we can’t even start our project.’ She said no,” Yaroslavsky said. “And finally, they just gave up… The park wouldn’t have been built if it wasn’t for her.”

As supervisors met on Tuesday morning, Mayor Karen Bass made a surprise appearance in the City Council chamber to honor what she called a “bittersweet moment.”

Bass joined Tuesday’s council meeting to endorse a resolution endorsing the county’s plans put forth by Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez.

“As I stand here as the first woman mayor of Los Angeles, it must be made very clear that I stand on the shoulders of Gloria Molina,” Bass said.

Los Angeles’ first female mayor said she didn’t know the city’s first Latina female councilor well, but that Molina long drew inspiration from afar.

“Although we didn’t know each other, I was watching her. I was an activist who never envisioned myself in elected office, but I watched it on these cameras. I watched her as she went into battle relentlessly and with a lot of strength,” Bass said of Molina, adding that she “helped shape my resolve, my determination and my leadership.”

Rodríguez also filed a city proposal with Councilmember Kevin de León to rename the mid-block crosswalks through Grand Park between Temple and 1st streets as “Gloria Molina Legacy Trail,” according to the office. of De Leon.

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