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Groundbreaking Set for Terasaki Budokan

A rendering of the Paul I. Terasaki Budokan. (Lincoln Brown illustration)

On Thursday, Aug. 3, Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) will break ground on the multipurpose sports facility and community center Paul I. Terasaki Budokan, an important step toward fulfilling a decades-old community vision.

To commemorate the milestone, a ceremony will be held at the future Budokan site on Los Angeles Street between Second Street and Third Street in Little Tokyo. The event will assemble supporters, funders, lenders and elected officials.

In 1994, after a series of community planning sessions, LTSC embarked on an ambitious campaign to build a downtown facility for youth, families and seniors to enjoy sports, community events and other opportunities to connect with Little Tokyo and Japanese American culture.

With support from major funding sectors, including government, private foundations, corporations, and individual donors, LTSC has raised $24.3 million of the estimated $25 million needed for construction. The organization continues to seek contributions to stay on target.

Once LTSC has successfully covered Budokan construction costs, it will shift into Phase 2 of its fundraising, an endowment campaign to ensure the ongoing sustainability of the facility.

“Community support for the Budokan has been overwhelming,” said LTSC Executive Director Dean Matsubayashi, “from an 11-year-old girl who made bracelets to raise funds for the project to a group of thirty-somethings who produced a fundraiser, Straight Outta Little Tokyo.”

Among many significant individual and family contributions, gifts from the Terasaki Family Foundation, the Aratani Foundation, the George, Ruri, Lisa and Nathan Sugimoto Family Foundation, and Aiko Kawaratani have been critical to the fundraising effort for Budokan. In appreciation of their generosity, the facility, gymnasium, courts, and garden will respectively bear their names.

Budokan construction will begin in mid-September and completion of the project is expected before the end of 2018. Budokan will house a two-court gymnasium for basketball, volleyball, martial arts and other activities. The facilities will also feature an outdoor plaza for special events, a children’s playground and a community room.

Registration for the groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. and the program will start at 9:30 a.m. The ceremony will be outdoors and seating will be limited. Parking will not be available at the groundbreaking site. Refreshments will be served following the program. The event is free, but RSVPs are encouraged through the Terasaki Budokan website:

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