It may still be just a dream, but the City of Los Angeles and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP) announced August 21 the start of the environmental review process for the proposed Hollywood Central Park, a visionary project that would create a 38-acre park atop a 1-mi-long stretch of the Hollywood (101) Freeway near Downtown Los Angeles.
The process got underway with the publication of a Notice of Preparation setting the date and time for a scoping session that gives the public an opportunity to provide input on what should be looked at as part of the environmental impact report being conducted. The Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, which is serving as the lead agency on the project under the California Environmental Quality Act, will host a scoping session on September 6.
“This brings us one big step closer toward achieving the long-held dream of building this much-needed park in the heart of Hollywood,” said Laurie Goldman, executive director of the Friends of the Hollywood Central Park in a recent press release. “It is a major milestone that demonstrates just how far this plan has come over the past few years.”
Hollywood Central Park is proposed for the air space above the stretch of the Hollywood Freeway between Santa Monica Boulevard and Bronson Avenue. The project area covers approximately 38 acres, located within Caltrans right-of-way, and varies in width between 200 and 400 ft.
By constructing a cap over a portion of the existing freeway trench, the project proposes to create a street-level urban park. The park’s conceptual plan outlines a variety of features, including landscaped open space, multipurpose fields, pedestrian meadows, small retail facilities (such as bike shops, seasonal markets, and art galleries), restaurants, an amphitheater, a community center, playgrounds, dog parks, and interactive community areas, among other possibilities.
At the most basic level, and for environmental review purposes, the project contains two major components.
The first is the usable area and facilities within the park. The second component is the engineered deck above the Hollywood Freeway and the supporting infrastructure The draft EIR will examine a host of possible issue areas, including aesthetics, air quality, cultural resources, geology and soils, greenhouse gas emissions, hazards and hazardous materials, hydrology and water quality, land use and planning, noise, population and housing, public services, recreation, transportation and circulation, and utilities.
A 2012 story on the FHCP website says that a feasibility study conducted by AECOM finds that the project could cost somewhere around $949 million and a more recent study by Psomas Engineering put the price tag at roughly $1.5 billion to construct.
Friends of the Hollywood Central Park was created in December 2009 to raise funds to create a park that will reunite communities separated for 60 years by the freeway. In addition to providing additional recreational space in one of LA’s densest and most park-poor neighborhoods, the project could create an estimated 40,000 jobs over 10 years, say FHCP officials.
Hollywood Central Park began as an idea nearly 30 years ago. In 2006 it progressed from a Hollywood Chamber of Commerce initiative to a Hollywood community coalition, with support from the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
Three years later, in 2009, saw the launch of Friends of the Hollywood Central Park.
In 2012 FHCP received a $1.2 million donation from the Aileen Getty Foundation. Those funds, coupled with $825,000 from the City of Los Angeles, will go toward conducting the environmental impact report.
Last year FHCP selected First Carbon Solutions of Los Angeles to prepare the EIR report, and according to a preliminary schedule, it is projected that the Draft EIR will be completed and ready for public review by early 2015.