L.A. City Hall Making Strides After Renovations, Occupiers Continue Fight
"When we originally reopened the park we said the fence would stay up for a while to give residents and visitors time to get used to the restored park and understand that it closed nightly,” City Hall spokesman Peter Sanders said.
The official hours of the new City Hall park are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday.
City Hall had not designated this specific date to have the fencing removed, but instead stated that the fences would remain until residents could adjust to the hours of the new park. Meanwhile, Occupy L.A. participants have continued their protesting efforts.
“We understand that the city is not going to accommodate us, but the people are still going to cry out and demonstrate with or without fences,” said Occupier Carlos Marroquin.
Renovations to the park began last fall after the city evicted Occupiers due to damage caused by the protest. Members of the movement have denied that they were the cause of the damage.
“They used any excuse to get us out of there. They say we killed the grass but it was already dead when we got there,” Marroquin said.
In order to avoid future destruction of the park, the city has posted new signage clearly indicating the hours of the park, as well as areas designated for free speech demonstrations.
“We hope all Angelenos will enjoy the use of the park and we are confident they will comply with the posted hours and regulations," Sanders said.
The renovation was only a fraction of the $4.7 million sum that the Occupy movement cost the city, according to a report from the city administrative officer.
According to Marroquin, the Occupy movement expressed concern about how the city would raise the money and offered that their people could do the work for free, but the city refused.
“We now have evidence of how much money is wasted because as they were developing the park, we saw crews of people just standing around with shovels in their hand and wasting money that is exactly what we're talking about in our demonstrations,” Marroquin said.
As the one-year anniversary of Occupy L.A. approaches and participants plan their anniversary event, security in the park will remain standard. The city hopes that the new signage and park hours will keep the park in good condition.