By Aaron Blevins, 10/10/2013
Community review process slated to begin in coming weeks
Friends of the Hollywood Central Park are hoping to file their project application with the city at the end of October, effectively “capping” a portion of the planning process for the freeway cap park.
The project, which would create a 44-acre park over the Hollywood (101) Freeway, has been a work in progress since 2007, but organizers are excited to be turning the page on the next chapter of the park’s preparation.
“We’re getting really close,” said Laurie Goldman, president of the Friends of Hollywood Central Park.
The organization hopes to finalize a project description and site plan on Oct. 15, with more details forthcoming by the end of the month or the beginning of November, she said.
“There was a lot of initial work to do,” Goldman said.
However, the amount of work required was not necessarily unexpected, as the city does not have a model for building in the air — or on a capped portion of the freeway, she said. Goldman said the project must also accommodate state and federal environmental requirements.
She said the project is still expected to be in the $725 million range; however, the $2 million in funding that the Community Redevelopment Agency, Los Angeles, offered to give the project for its environmental impact report was denied by the state. Goldman said much of that slack was picked up by a $1.2-million grant from the Aileen Getty Foundation. The city offered the rest.
Additionally, organizers continue to meet with state and federal officials to find potential sources of funding, though the funding may not be available until the project has an environmental impact report, Goldman said.
Last March, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park met with representatives of the U.S. National Park Service, who identified additional funding sources. The group is expected to visit Washington, D.C., again this spring.
This summer, organizers visited Sacramento for the first time, and Goldman said the project was well received.
Furthermore, Friends of the Hollywood Central Park have been analyzing existing cap parks and other proposals. Goldman said five other cap parks have been proposed for Southern California: two in Santa Monica and one in Glendale, Ventura and downtown Los Angeles.
“It’s a very efficient way to use airspace,” she said of the park concept.
The organization will host its annual gala on Jan. 9 at the Taglyan Complex, 1201 Vine St. Members will honor State Parks Director Major General Anthony Jackson, Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), and the CEO of the Hollywood Beautification Team, Sharyn Romano.
Goldman said the Southern California Association of Governments recently awarded a joint grant to Friends of the Hollywood Central Park and the beautification team to plant 540 trees on streets that will “walk” into the park.
She said the hope is to have the project’s environmental impact report finished in 2014, with construction beginning in 2015 if the funding is available.
Regardless of the timing, Goldman feels that the park will be an asset to the community, especially for the neighborhoods that have been separated by the freeway for so many years.
“The vision was to connect neighborhoods separated by that freeway, and now we get to do it,” she added.
For information, visit www.hollywoodcentralpark.org.