Los Angeles may soon approve a bond issue for renovating an historic downtown park following seven years of debate over the best plan for the area.
City officials recently released a report supporting a Mello-Roos community facility district that would levy $660,000 annually in special taxes on property owners surrounding Pershing Square.
The taxes would secure an estimated $8 million in bonds that could be sold early next year. The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency in 1986 agreed to commit $6 million of its revenues to the project, bringing the total amount potentially available to $14 million.
The rundown square, located at the east end of the downtown financial district, attracts a large number of homeless persons. The 1984 summer Olympics sparked efforts to clean up the park, but debate over funding sources scuttled the plans.
The Dec. 9 report advises the city to provide credit support to the district by committing to advance funds for debt service in the event of delinquent special tax payments by property owners.
"We would typically recommend against the lending of the city's credit for a Mello-Roos project," David Brodsly, a senior administrative analyst, said in the report. But they make the recommendation now because of the project's importance, small size, and general public benefit.
The city council could vote on the plan by next month. The report recommends beginning construction in April.
Property owners petitioned for the district in 1989 and a public hearing on the pelan was held in May 1990. Businesses surrounding the park include the Biltmore Hotel and the Western Jewelry Mart.