I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
– Thomas Jefferson

Issue 5 | Spring 2015


Friends of the Hollywood Central Park Board of Directors

FHCP Staff

  • Philip E. Aarons, Chairman
  • Alfred Fraijo, Jr., President
  • George Abou-Daoud, Vice President
  • Jeffrey Briggs, Vice President
  • Brian Folb, Vice President
  • Scott Campbell, Treasurer
  • Christi Van Cleve, Secretary
  • Christopher Barton
  • Douglas Campbell
  • Heather Cochran
  • James Feldman
  • Betty Fraser
  • Craig Fry
  • David Gajda
  • Terri Gerger
  • Aileen Getty
  • Bradley Glenn
  • John Goodwin
  • David Green
  • Phil Hart, PhD
  • Ed V. Hunt
  • Tricia LaBelle
  • Jacob Lipa
  • Susan Polifronio
  • Sharyn Romano
  • Marie Rumsey
  • Scott Rynders
  • Nicole Shahenian
  • Sam Smith
  • Thaddeus Hunter Smith
  • Robert Soderstrom
  • Gary Taglyan
  • Todd Warner
    • Laurie Goldman
      Executive Director
    • Alfredo Hernandez
      Program Director

I ♥ Hollywood Central Park

Show your support for your Hollywood Central Park Give us a positive review at: Great Non-Profits

 

 

spacer.gif In this issue:

A Message from Jeffrey C. Briggs, FHCP Vice President and Founding Board Member

Have you noticed lately how hard it is to go anywhere in Hollywood anymore without running into people with their dogs?

 

I’m thrilled to support the Hollywood Central Park proposal, a truly innovative project that can provide sorely needed recreation and open space for Angelenos.

 

Executive Director Laurie Goldman sat down with FHCP Board Member Dr. Phil Hart for a discussion about Hollywood.

 

And now, a word from our Sponsors ...
Toyota of Hollywood

Toyota of Hollywood and LAcarGUY are proud to be a featured sponsor of the Hollywood Central Park project. 

 

Join City Parks Alliance – and hundreds of global park leaders at Greater & Greener 2015 in San Francisco – a four-day indoor and outdoor conference dedicated to sharing ideas, fostering an international community of urban park advocates, and creating stronger, more resilient parks in our urban areas.

 


Has Hollywood Gone to the Dogs?

A message from Jeffrey C. Briggs, FHCP Vice President and Founding Board Member

By Jeff Briggs

Have you noticed lately how hard it is to go anywhere in Hollywood anymore without running into people with their dogs? And I don’t mean just on the streets and in the parks---though evidence of Rover’s presence in such locales is pervasive; one can't take a stroll after sunset anymore without a flashlight and hipwaders, as Benji's remains seem to be left everywhere these days. 

No, I mean have you noticed that dogs are showing up with their guardians in restaurants, malls, shops, and even grocery stores and movie theaters? And not just the little ones that fit in a lady’s handbag and cutely peek out---I mean big dogs, too, some you might mistake for a refugee pony from Griffith Park?

Hey, I love dogs, but I think dog owners may be turning a “human’s best friend” into everyone else’s “tolerated annoyance.” Thanks to plans for Hollywood’s Central Park over the 101 Freeway, however, help for dogs and their owners’ reputations is on the way!

Specific elements of Hollywood Central Park are not yet decided, but in community meetings that have taken place for several years now, ever since the audacious idea of building a green space over the 101 Freeway between Bronson and Santa Monica got serious traction with the formation of Friends of the Hollywood Central Park to raise awareness, interest, enthusiasm, and funding for the project, stakeholders of every stripe consistently have expressed a desire for dedication of part of the new park space to our four-legged friends. It seems a foregone conclusion that at least some corner of the new Park will, indeed, provide Arfy some space to run free without his owner concerned about leash law enforcement. And that is a very good thing.

It is obvious that as Hollywood residential space increases, with many new apartment and condo projects recently built, underway, or in the planning stages, we have a lot of work to do if we don’t want Hollywood to adopt one of the less-appealing features of Paris sidewalks, namely Fido’s telltale territorial markings (and the unfortunate human footprints that typically follow). A new dog park as part of Hollywood Central Park will help us all out---it will promote dog happiness, for sure, but also responsible dog guardianship and just general citizenry happiness and welfare from the savings on shoe-cleaning bills alone. Equally valuable, those small apartment dwellers with pony-size dogs finally will have a place where their oversized four-legged better-halves can get the exercise and socialization they need. Kids and their parents will have a chance to learn about different breeds by seeing and interacting with them in an open space instead of from the other side of a kennel cage, and photo opportunities for FaceBook and “Insta” pages will abound---who can resist the image of a toddler getting his first face-wash from a loving puppy or three? (Flashback to a famous old Coca-Cola ad for you more “experienced” readers of a certain epoch.) Dogs can bring out the best in all of us if we give them some space of their own (the fence is for the owners).

The prospect of a dog park within Hollywood Central Park is just one reason to not only support, but spend time imagining all the things a 38-acre greenspace can be. This new park is Hollywood’s own “moon shot”---the opportunities for innovative use of the space are bound only by the limits of our vision, and now is the time to eschew those limits and think “Mars shot” instead. Those of us directly involved in making this new dream-park a reality have no monopoly on ideas---we encourage everyone in the community to spend time with our website park-planning feature to let your imaginations run as freely as we expect our canine acquaintances to do in what we hope will be their own little slice of heaven and of days gone by in Hollywood’s own Central Park.

Support for Local Parks

Dear Friends,

I’m thrilled to support the Hollywood Central Park proposal, a truly innovative project that can provide sorely needed recreation and open space for Angelenos. This is a truly visionary project that reflects the aspirations and needs of our community. Unfortunately, too many of our children are growing up in communities that lack parks and open spaces. As a result, our kids are limited in their opportunities for recreation and to experience the joys of nature. But it shouldn’t be this way.

It is my firm belief that a family’s financial wherewithal should not determine a child’s access to parks and open spaces. One of my top priorities in the legislature is to address the need for more parks, recreation and green spaces, particularly for underserved communities. In fact, the first bill I authored in the legislature was a bill to provide funding for park projects in park-poor and low-income communities. AB 31 (De León, 2008) directed $400 million towards a competitive statewide grant program to fund local parks in park-starved neighborhoods from Proposition 84, a ballot initiative passed by voters in 2006. These are communities that suffer from higher rates of unemployment, poverty, crime, school drop-outs, and health ailments, such as obesity and asthma. These are descriptions of neighborhoods that are all too common in Los Angeles.

AB 31 (De León) has funded 127 park projects across the state – from Eureka to El Centro – including nearly 100 new parks!  The City of Los Angeles has benefitted immensely from the AB 31 grant program with funding for over 20 parks in the city alone, including: La Mirada Park and Carlton Way Parks in Hollywood, Vermont Miracle Park in South Los Angeles, York Avenue Park in Highland Park, Budokan Little Tokyo Recreation Center/Park, and many others. In many cases, local non-profits are working with local governments, residents and others to design park projects that are informed by the needs and amenity preferences of the local residents. These parks are not just providing increased access to recreation and nature, they are also helping to transform neighborhoods from abandoned lots to flourishing cultural, civic, ecological and social playgrounds. These parks are helping to improve the physical and emotional health of our residents – from the young to the older.

While AB 31 has funded an unprecedented 127 park projects in the state, the demand for the $400 million was over $3 billion in project proposals – a ratio of one awarded grant for every eight requested! Clearly, we can and must do more to help address parks and open space needs in our communities.  It’s with this in mind that I am proposing a new statewide park bond that will include funding for local parks, and also for preservation and protection of our rivers, such as the LA River, and lakes and coastline.  SB 317 (De León), the Safe Neighborhood Parks, Rivers, and Coastal Protection Bond Act of 2016 will provide funding to help meet the needs of our park poor communities, and support the innovative efforts like those of the Hollywood Central Park partners. Together, we will ensure that Los Angeles’ children will live in more healthy, less concrete-laden, neighborhoods for generations to come.

Si se puede,

Kevin de León
President pro Tempore of the California State Senate

Getting to Know You: Philip S. Hart, Ph.D.

The third in a series of interviews with the FHCP Board of Directors


Tanya and Phil Hart with Councilmember Tom LaBonge

Phil Hart’s work in Los Angeles and cities and towns throughout the nation is predicated upon effective community planning, community outreach and consensus building.  Hart is an award-winning author.  His most recent book is “African Americans and the Future of New Orleans.”   Hart is a native of Denver, Colorado.  He was educated at the University of Colorado and Michigan State University.   His doctoral dissertation is titled “Problems in Organizational Renewal.”   Hart resides in Los Angeles with his wife and family.

Executive Director Laurie Goldman sat down with FHCP Board Member Dr. Phil Hart for a discussion about Hollywood:

LG:  As a founding Board Member, please share with our readers how and why you chose to get involved with the Hollywood Central Park?

PH:  In Denver I grew up near City Park.  In Boston I lived a few blocks from Franklin Park.  In Los Angeles I live on a cul-de-sac with Griffith Park at the end of the street.  I have made use of urban parks my whole life.   So when the opportunity presented itself to become involved with the Hollywood Central Park I jumped at the chance.  At the time I was Executive Director of ULI LA and the park seemed like such a ULI-type of project.   I represented ULI LA on the feasibility study selection committee that also included representation from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and the CRA LA.

LG:  Please describe the benefits of building a 38-acre park over the Hollywood Freeway, for both the business and residential stakeholders.  Are the benefits compatible?

PH:    As an advocate of urban parks and open space I think the benefits of building  an urban cap park over the 101 freeway in Hollywood are substantial for both residents and businesses.   Hollywood is a park-poor neighborhood so the residents will benefit from having an accessible park.  In building the Hollywood Central Park the infrastructure will be improved and upgraded in the process.  Further, business and economic development activities will ensue as a result of the work we are doing to plan and build the Hollywood Central Park.   A key objective in terms of capturing these business and economic opportunities for local residents is to create a viable  community benefits package that allows for job creation and wealth creation for locals so as to mitigate the negative aspects of gentrification which will follow.

LG:  The primary goals of the Hollywood Central Park are to unite communities separated for more than 60 years by the construction of the Hollywood Freeway and to provide the disadvantaged communities surrounding the freeway with green open space.  With your extensive background as a real estate developer, how do we simultaneously preserve affordable housing, create new affordable housing and stimulate the local economy through development?

PH:   Although I have a depth of experience as a real estate developer, I like to refer to myself as a community economic developer.   I also have a deep background as an urban planner and to the extent possible I try to combine these two competencies to create worthwhile development projects that have a positive impact on the urban environment.   My experience in crafting community benefits packages as part of major development projects have always had as their objective to both create and preserve affordable housing as well as to stimulate the local economy in such a way as to primarily benefit local residents.   In Los Angeles and in Hollywood we need more open green space, we need more affordable housing, and we need more income equality.   Getting all these things is a challenge that must be addressed by real estate developers, urban planners, elected and appointed officials, the financial sector, working in concert with local communities.   The Hollywood Central Park is a “bottoms-up” project that has the potential to address these pressing issues.

LG:  As a community, we just came through a bruising and bitter battle over the Hollywood Community Plan update.  How do we create a balance between economic development and quality of life issues?

PH:   We need to figure out how to better integrate the needs of those living in our hillside neighborhoods with the building boom that is occurring in Hollywood currently.  There were some mistakes in the Hollywood Community Plan approval process that hopefully can be addressed this time around.   There are always going to be points of friction between the pace of economic development and quality of life issues.   And the question is always, “Whose quality of life are we talking about?”    Generally traffic congestion follows successful community economic development.   We still need to figure out how to get more people out of their cars and into the growing public transit system that LA County is now building.

LG: Throughout your many years as both a Hollywood resident and Chamber Board member, what changes have you seen in Hollywood that are worthy of celebration?  What changes have yet to be realized?

PH:   I have been involved with Hollywood redevelopment since the late 1970s when I was affiliated with the Hollywood Group which had offices in the Pantages office building.   The changes in Hollywood since 1979 have been remarkable  ---  we were down and out and now we are booming and bustling.  We have the Metro Red Line with three stops in Hollywood; in 2001 we had TrizecHahn building Hollywood & Highland now we have CIM Group, Hudson Pacific, J.H. Snyder, Millennium/Argent, and others all investing in Hollywood.   We have come a long way, but more remains to be done.   As I said earlier, we need to get more people on the Red Line, we need to create more permanent supportive housing, we need to get a handle on crime, we need to get a handle on substance abuse, and we need to make sure our non-profits continue to be successful.   We need to make sure our successful real estate and economic development projects lead to job creation, career-building, and even wealth creation in the Hollywood community.

Philip Hart is author of “Cap Parks” (with Laurie L Goldman), Urban Land, July 2011.
Philip Hart is author of “Hollywood’s Time to Shine” (with Maureen McAvey) Urban Land, September 2005.

And now, a word from our Sponsors ...
Toyota of Hollywood

In an effort to acquaint our readers with FHCP’s sponsors, we’ve added a new feature to our quarterly newsletter: And now, a word from our Sponsors

Toyota of Hollywood and LAcarGUY are proud to be a featured sponsor of the Hollywood Central Park project.  Toyota of Hollywood is the 1st Toyota dealership in the US and has been located near Hollywood & Gower since 1957. 

Toyota of Hollywood is part of the LAcarGUY family of dealerships which includes 10 dealerships and one body shop all located in Los Angeles.  LAcarGUY owner Mike Sullivan is a lifelong surfer with a strong appreciation for the environment. As the #1 Hybrid and Diesel dealer group in the country, it’s important to us to back that up with our OWN sustainable efforts, both internally and externally.   We are excited to add the Hollywood Central Park Project to our list of eco-partnerships including: Heal The Bay, Environmental Media Association, Grades of Green, Global Green USA, and TreePeople.
 
In April, to celebrate Earth day, Toyota of Hollywood will spotlight its partnership with the Central Park project throughout the month with a display in our showroom, as well as highlighting info about the project throughout our social media, blogs and LAcarGUY email database.

LAcarGUY’s sustainable efforts are led by Alisha Auringer, our Manager of the Environment, who has put together an LAcarGUY Green Team responsible for educating and activating our 800 employees including a record setting 200+ employees at Heal The Bay’s annual Coastal Cleanup.

We look forward to being a small part in making this park a reality.  Thanks for making our community a better place to live, work and play.

City Parks Alliance

FHCP is a proud member of City Parks Alliance.  We’ve asked our friends at CPA to inform our readers about their upcoming Greater and Greener Conference in San Francisco, April 11-14.

Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks, Vibrant Cities – April 11-14 in San Francisco

With more people choosing to live in cities, urban parks have the power to impact a range of social and cultural issues – from health, public education, livability and social cohesion, to economic development and urban resilience. Yet in cities across the country and across the world, the demand for housing and infrastructure to accommodate rapid population growth is requiring civic and business leaders to balance competing priorities and continue to innovate to protect their urban park landscapes.  

That's why City Parks Alliance, in partnership with the San Francisco Recreation & Park Department is bringing together hundreds of global park leaders, city planning and design professionals, and urban park advocates in San Francisco, April 11-14, 2015 for Greater & Greener 2015: Innovative Parks Vibrant Cities. A dynamic forum and networking opportunity, over four days, participants will explore the roles of public parks in creating healthy, resilient, and sustainable cities–now and in the future.

With the San Francisco Bay Area’s spectacular urban park system as our outdoor classroom, conference sessions will explore the people and programs having an impact across a wide range of social and cultural issues – in the Bay Area and globally. Through expert-led tours, hands-on workshops, networking opportunities, and dynamic sessions with more than 150 high-level national and international speakers, Greater & Greener 2015 will provide you with the knowledge, tools and real-life examples to affect change in your city, community, or neighborhood parks.

Confirmed participants include:

  • David Escobar Arango, Executive Director, Interactuar, Medellin, Columbia and former Director of Planning for the City of Medellin, Columbia
  • Nico Tillie, Landscape Architect, City of Rotterdam, and Researcher, Delft University of Technology 
  • Jon Jarvis, Director, National Park Service
  • Walter Hood, Professor of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning and Urban Design, University of California at Berkeley
  • Ed Murray, Mayor of Seattle, Washington
  • Jon Christensen, Journalist-in-residence and Adjunct Professor, Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, University of California, Los Angeles
  • Benjamin Grant, Public Realm and Urban Design Program Manager, SPUR Ocean Beach Master Plan
  • Alfred Fraijo, Jr., President, Friends of Hollywood Central Park
  • Fabian Wagmister, Founding Director, Center for Research in Engineering, Media and Performance (REMAP), UCLA
  • Helena Bjarnegård, City Landscape Architect, Gothenburg City
  • Shay Levi, Head of Environmental Planning Department, Ariel Sharon Park
  • Mitchell Silver, Commissioner, New York City Department of Parks & Recreation
  • Holly Leicht, Regional Administrator, New York and New Jersey U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Jon Pape, Deputy Director, City of Copenhagen, City Operations
  • Betsy Price, Mayor of Fort Worth, Texas
  • Mark Pincus, Founder and Chairman, Zynga
  • Gil Penalosa, Founder and Chair of the Board, 8-80 Cities
  • Deborah Cohen, Senior Natural Scientist, RAND Corporation

We're excited to hear from Friends of the Hollywood Central Park president Alfred Fraijo, Jr., who will be lending his expertise on our Making the Most of Highways panel on Tuesday, April 14 from 11:00 am – 12:15 am. Focused on reclaiming urban infrastructure for the public enjoyment of urban communities, Alfred will be joined by speakers from Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, The Presidio Trust, and Klyde Warren Park in Dallas, Texas.

View the conference program and learn more at greatergreener.org. For the latest conference updates follow @CParksAlliance on Twitter using conference hashtag #greatergreener. Discounted rates on the full conference package and host hotel accommodation end soon!