Artist's rendering of the completed Budokan.

The State of California Department of Parks and Recreation on March 29 officially announced its selection of grantees for its Prop 84 second-round funding cycle. and the LTSC Community Development Corporation was one of a few agencies in the area awarded in this statewide competitive grant submission process.

LTSC Community Development Corporation, a non-profit organization, was awarded a $5 million grant to build a multi-purpose recreation center with a roof-top park in Little Tokyo, near Downtown Los Angeles.

“That’s one big step, we still have a ways to go. It pretty much means we can build something, for sure we can put up a facility now,” said Bill Watanabe, Little Tokyo Service Center executive director.

The Budokan project will be located at 237-249 Los Angeles St., between Second and Third streets in Little Tokyo, near the Little Tokyo Branch Library and Vibiana LA. The project will consist of a gymnasium, community space and a rooftop park with a walking/jogging track, playground, Japanese garden/performance space, and reading grove. It will host an array of sports (basketball, volleyball and martial arts), special events, tournaments, and programming for all ages.

With the $5 million grant and other donations, the gymnasium is about one-third of the way to the fundraising goal, according to Watanabe.

A basketball clinic will be held on May 12 at the future site of the gymnasium from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Prop 84 grant is a major step forward for the Budokan project,” said Watanabe. “The investment by the State of California is a testament of their belief and need for a facility like the Budokan project in Downtown Los Angeles. It is also a indication that they share in our vision and are confident in our ability to develop a facility of this scale.”

“This new community center and creative rooftop park project is an example of what voters envisioned when they approved the 2006 bond act,” said Sedrick Mitchell, deputy director for the California Department of Parks and Recreation. “Children, seniors, and families — and future generations — will have a place to play, exercise, and enjoy nature within walking distance from their homes. These bond funds will make the community’s vision a reality.”

On Nov. 7, 2006, California voters passed Proposition 84 (Safe Drinking Water, Water Quality and Supply, Flood Control, River and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2006), which made available $368 million in grant funding to support the creation of parks and recreational opportunities for the public, distributed through two rounds of funding in 2010 and 2011. For the second round, with $184 million available statewide, over 400 applications were submitted, totaling $1.5 billion in requests.

“I am really pleased that the Budokan project has been awarded a $5 million Prop 84 grant. These funds will be used to construct a state of the art recreation facility that will serve seniors and youth. The Budokan project will deliver real health and fitness benefits to the entire community,” said Councilmember Jan Perry.

The Prop 84 application submitted by LTSC CDC was a culmination of support between local government, community organizations and local residents. The Budokan project application was spearheaded by a team consisting of the local City Council office, including Perry and staff member Marie Rumsey; CRA/LA (Community Redevelopment Agency), including Karen Yamamoto; consultants, including Sharon Lowe, Siobhan Burke and Deborah Murphy; and many residents in Little Tokyo who provided their feedback and insight regarding various design and recreational features for the project.

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