"The momentum is there," said Victor Franco Jr., vice president of government affairs at the Central City Assn. "Los Angeles for years has been the victim of 'We'll do this; we'll do that' planning," he said. "Now, we're going to plan a really good development to go right along with the great cultural monuments that are [already] there."
Molina, who has been critical of county government expenditures on Disney Hall, said she hopes that outdoor public events and moderately priced cafes at the planned park would mean that "you don't have to buy an $85 ticket to Disney Hall and a $120 dinner" to enjoy the area.
"Right now we're not a location that people can just get up on Sunday morning and say, 'I'm going to go there and have breakfast and walk around the park,' " Molina said.
Recent visitors to the downtown area said the plan could help make an area that they see as uninviting more attractive.
"I avoid coming to downtown," said Jay Bermudez, who lives in Torrance but was outside the County Courthouse on Friday for jury duty. "I see it as a business place."
A fellow juror agreed, gesturing to the bright red JUROR badge he was wearing.
Downtown has been improving, said Downey resident Virgil Sperline, 72. But now, he said, "I'm down here because I have to be."