There is nothing so American as our parks.

Issue 8 | Winter 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
  • Stacy Marble
  • Timothy McOsker
  • Susan Polifronio
  • Sharyn Romano
  • Marie Rumsey
  • Scott Rynders
  • Nicole Shahenian
  • Dixon Slingerland
  • Thaddeus Hunter Smith
  • Robert Soderstrom
  • Gary Taglyan
  • Adam Tartakovsky
  • Todd Warner
    • Laurie Goldman
      Executive Director
    • Alfredo Hernandez
      Program Director


2016 Gala Sponsorships

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Taglyan Cultural Center
Mike Sullivan, Owner, LAcarGUY
Children's Hospital LA
Paul Hirsch, Prinicpal, STEM Academy @ Bernstein


HAPPY HOLIDAYS from your Friends of the Hollywood Central Park.

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:

By Senator Ben Allen
America’s cities have begun to re-learn what was once a key tenet of urban planning.


By Laurie L. Goldman, Executive Director
On the heels of the historic Climate Change Agreement adopted in Paris, it seems appropriate to think about the benefits of the Hollywood Central Park.


By William F. Harris
HCHC believes that well designed and sustainably built affordable housing is only the first step in revitalizing and uplifting a community.


Recognized as an outstanding and compassionate leader, Gary Taglyan is respected for his drive for perfection, social responsibility and dedication to innovation and on-going achievement.


The Importance of Parks

By Senator Ben Allen

America’s cities have begun to re-learn what was once a key tenet of urban planning.  Today we recognize that not only are iconic parks like Central Park in New York or our own Griffith Park a vital part of the urban landscape, but that we have a moral imperative to add more parks and open space in areas which lack them.  That is why I am so thrilled to see the dream of the Hollywood Central Park beginning to become a reality.

In August, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Friends of the Hollywood Central Park on their advocacy trip to the State Capitol in Sacramento.  The Friends group consisted of Jason Brandman, Doug Campbell, Alfred Fraijo, Jr., Laurie Goldman, Alfredo Hernandez, Edward Hunt and Martha Hunt, all of whom were impressive ambassadors for the Hollywood Central Park project.  Their dedication to this exciting endeavor was evident and contagious.  I thoroughly enjoyed hearing first-hand the progress on the park’s environmental impact report, and their vision for how to move this ambitious project forward.  We had a lively exchange of ideas about how to increase community engagement, so that local residents and businesses alike are aware of the tremendous environmental, health and economic benefits the park will bring to the Hollywood area.

For me, the topic of local parks is quite personal.  Many of my most cherished childhood memories are of the time I spent in parks across Southern California, hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains with my father, playing soccer, or just enjoying the great outdoors.  I believe that the time I spent in parks as a youth gave me a greater appreciation of the planet we share, and fostered my deep commitment to the ideal that every person, especially children, should be able to access a park in their own community.  It also informs my work as a member of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, which is responsible for state policy regarding our parks.  This year, our primary focus was on passage of Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León’s park bond measure, SB 317, which would provide $2.45 billion for California parks, including $800 million to create neighborhood parks in disadvantaged communities and areas with little green space.  Once passed by the legislature, this measure must go on a statewide ballot for approval by the voters.  If successful, it will be the first major infusion of funds for state and local parks since 2002.

We know that Hollywood has an acute shortage of parks and open space, but it is not alone.  Many other Californians across the state lack access to safe parks and recreation areas, which limits their ability to experience the outdoors, improve their physical and emotional health, exercise, and connect with their communities.  Investments like our bond measure will create and improve parks and recreation areas, and will help ensure that everyone has access to safe, green places.  Continued investment in the state’s parks, natural resources, and in greening urban areas will mitigate the effects of climate change, making cities more livable, and protecting our natural resources for future generations.

The Hollywood Central Park is on track to becoming one of the most innovative urban park projects of the 21st century.  I look forward to continuing to be an ally and supporter of this exciting effort as it begins to take shape.

Senator Ben Allen represents the Westside and South Bay communities of Los Angeles County.

Why the Hollywood Central Park Matters

By Laurie L. Goldman, Executive Director

“Urban parks are dynamic institutions that play a vital, but not fully appreciated or understood role in the social, economic and physical well-being of America's urban areas and its residents. Dating back to the 19th century when Frederick Law Olmsted introduced the first large-scale urban parks to this country, these green spaces provided relief from urban intensity for residents and brought people together across social, economic and racial divides. In the post-war years, when the population shifted away from urban centers, our nation's parks suffered enormously from disinvestments and many are still experiencing it.”


On the heels of the historic Climate Change Agreement adopted in Paris, it seems appropriate to think about the benefits of the Hollywood Central Park.  Aside from providing much needed green open space, the Hollywood Central Park will help to address nearly every critical need in our community from health to housing, to education and the environment and safer neighborhoods to community engagement.

Let’s take for example, storm water capture.  During the rainy season, current storm water capture is negligible over the Hollywood Freeway.  Some storm water falls on the landscaped slopes, but their steep gradients cause most rainwater to run-off.  Storm water capture for the 38-acre Hollywood Central Park will be nearly 100%.   In a “normal” rainfall year of 14.81 inches (source:  National Weather Service) the Park will capture 15,281,890 gallons of storm water run-off (402,155 gallons/acre x 38 acres).  In an average El Nino year, with a rainfall of 22.21 inches, the storm water capture would be 22,917,648 gallons.  And, in a strong El Nino, as is currently predicted, we assume double the “normal” or 29.62 inches (Note:  the 1997-98 El Nino brought rainfall of 31 inches) the storm water capture will be 30,568,742 gallons!  By all accounts that is SUBSTANTIAL.

Then there is the urban heat island effect to consider.  As the name implies, the effect makes cities into islands of heat.  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, temperatures in U.S. cities can get as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit higher than their surrounding areas [source: EPA].  Parks moderate artificially higher temperatures from the urban heat island effect through shading and evapotranspiration.  Parks mitigate local precipitation anomalies amplified by the urban heat island effect.  And most important, Parks sequester carbon and other pollutants trapped by the urban heat island that may otherwise alter local and global atmospheric composition.  In addition to carbon, studies have also shown how effectively trees remove other pollutants. The U.S. Forest Service calculates that over a 50-year lifetime one tree generates $31,250 worth of oxygen and provides $62,000 worth of air pollution control (

In other words, Parks are the best and first line of defense against the effects of climate change!

While climate change management is essential and a profoundly needed benefit of the Hollywood Central Park, the Park will also create safer neighborhoods.  For those concerned that green spaces may foster crime and illegal activity, evidence now exists that the opposite may be true. When adjacent to residential areas, green spaces have been shown to create neighborhoods with fewer violent and property crimes and where neighbors tend to support and protect one another. These are the findings of scientists at the Human-Environment Research Laboratory of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who studied green space alongside public housing in Chicago.   Other researchers conducting similar studies across the country are finding similar results(1).

Time spent in nature immediately adjacent to home helps people relieve mental fatigue, reducing aggression.  Green residential spaces are gathering places where neighbors form social ties that produce stronger and safer neighborhoods.  Hollywood is separated by the Hollywood Freeway; barren spaces (the freeway) are more frightening to people and are more crime prone than parks landscaped with greenery and open vistas.  The Hollywood Central Park will be positively incorporated into the community and its design.

Of all the benefits of the Hollywood Central Park, including community engagement, economic development and tourism, the benefit closest to my heart is the benefit of the Hollywood Central Park for our children.  The Hollywood Central Park will help children learn.  The Park offers children the daily benefits of direct experience with nature – the motivation to explore, discover and learn about their world and to engage in health-promoting physical activity.  The Park will offer children a sense of place, self-identity, and belonging as an antidote to social alienation, vandalism and violence.  It will engage children in informal, experiential learning through play and shared experiences with peers, laying the foundation for effective formal education.  Our Hollywood Central Park will provide a valuable resource for closing the educational achievement gap in our community.  The future belongs to our children and their children.  And, the Park will offer a vehicle for their participation on community development, citizenship and democratic processes.(2) Children are the future.

Let’s join together and give them the bright future they deserve.

For more information on the Hollywood Central Park visit or contact Laurie Goldman at   

(1) City Parks Forum Briefing Papers – How Cities Use Parks to Create Safer Neighborhoods
(2) City Parks Forum Briefing Papers – How Cities Help Children Learn

IOBY (In Our Back Yard)

By William F. Harris

Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) is excited by the future development of the Hollywood Central Park! HCHC is a not-for-profit, public benefit corporation that has developed affordable housing for economically challenged individuals, seniors and large families in the Hollywood area for 26 years. Our 24 buildings provide nearly 800 safe, attractive, and centrally located housing units to over 1,700 residents. As a long time community member, we welcome with open arms the numerous benefits that the Hollywood Central Park project will bring to our residents and to our entire community!

HCHC believes that well designed and sustainably built affordable housing is only the first step in revitalizing and uplifting a community. The ethics of the park are an extension of our work: community, well-being, and sustainability. Once our residents have a foundation that is safe and secure, they become an essential thread within the fabric of the greater community of Hollywood and Los Angeles. With all of this in mind, when we first heard about the Hollywood Central Park proposal, HCHC immediately supported the idea.

Currently, HCHC has 19 buildings within immediate walking distance of the Hollywood Central Park project. The park will provide access to green open space and recreational facilities for over 1,000 HCHC residents and their families . We envision the day when all of our families can gather in a vibrant environment like Hollywood Central Park. We look forward to Sunday afternoon picnics and children playing soccer. We picture our senior residents meeting for a weekly card game. We relish the thought of hiking trails, bike paths, and a dog park where I can bring my dog Trixie during lunch! We know that the Hollywood Central Park will become Hollywood’s “centerpiece,” a place where all of us can take in a deep breath of fresh air and the entire community feels welcome.

William F. Harris is the Executive Director of Hollywood Community Housing (HCHC), a community based non-profit organization in Hollywood. He is responsible for the planning, acquisition and development of new affordable housing and mixed-use developments for low-income residents. He has led the development of 13 new housing and mixed-use projects and directed the addition of social services to the agency.

Getting To Know You: Gary Taglyan

Recognized as an outstanding and compassionate leader, Gary Taglyan is respected for his drive for perfection, social responsibility and dedication to innovation and on-going achievement. The combination of all these traits allows him to relentlessly outshine the competition and succeed.

Gary Taglyan is currently the Executive Director of Taglyan Cultural Complex, where he quickly established an outstanding reputation for providing exquisite dining and unparalleled hospitality. He has created an exceptional work environment and admirable culture. During his time, Taglyan has led the company through an array of developments which have quickly allowed them to rank as one of Southern California's most talked about, respected, and well-rounded event venues in the market. In 2009, Taglyan founded his own catering company, Divine Food & Catering, LLC, to complement the very sophisticated Taglyan Complex and meet the needs of the most discerning palates in Los Angeles.

He proudly serves on the Board of Community Centers, Inc., Hye Pharmacy, Inc., Buttlered Realty, and Hollywood Chamber of Commerce and Hollywood Central Park. Taglyan received a Bachelors in Business Administration with a concentration in Management from Woodbury University, and continued to attain a Masters degree in Business Administration. He was born in Hollywood and continues to live there with his beautiful and supportive wife, Stella.

Executive Director Laurie Goldman sat down with FHCP Board Member, Gary Taglyan on all things Hollywood:

LG: Why community service and why the Hollywood Central Park?

GT: Our community is our home. We must be respectful of our home and take responsibility for the future of this community. We need to make the changes necessary to adapt to a changing business and social environment in order to stay competitive and offer a level playing field for the next generation.

I strongly believe in the park and the many benefits it will bring to the community. I believe that green space and nature soothes the soul and can be the breathe of fresh air in the revitalization of Hollywood.

Having traveled around the world I’ve learned of people’s expectations of Hollywood, and sadly I must admit that it falls very short. I want to be proud of my community, and because I know the potential that it has, I want to be part of the journey reaching that potential.  And having seen beautiful communities where people come together in parks, having a picnic, playing sports, reading a book, I want to be able to see that same thing in my community, and have that beauty surrounding my children growing up.

 LG: What would you say are the benefits of the Hollywood Central Park?

GT: A green space where people can go to in order to find some peace is important in this busy life we live in. In order to assure a proper upbringing for the future generation, we need green open space for children to play and interact with one another. A park will unite communities, which in turn will help our children learn about the importance of diversity, making friends, building teams, and more.  It will instill a healthier lifestyle, developing a happier and brighter generation.

The park will give a reason for people to spend more time in Hollywood. Tourism is a huge part of Hollywood and the park will provide more attractions and reasons for them to stay here longer. This development will create new jobs and an economic boom, ultimately benefitting our communities, businesses and residents.

LG: Living in Hollywood, what improvements are worth celebrating and what have yet to be realized?

GT: Being born and raised in Hollywood I’ve seen a beautiful transformation over the years. We’ve cleaned up the streets and are attracting bigger businesses and tourists. We’ve attracted significant new developments in the area which will receive new attention and hope for better things to follow. Hollywood has become a walkable community where you can work, eat, and play in the same area. The demographic and lifestyle has changed and there is great new energy that has been activated.

There have been great improvements over the years, but we still have a long way to go. We desperately need to improve the traffic and reduce homelessness. We need to provide more public transportation and improve street safety to encourage walking. More importantly, we need the proper infrastructure for people to raise families and call Hollywood their home.

LG: How does the Hollywood Central Park help create a common vision for the future of Hollywood?

GT: This project will benefit everyone in a different way and strengthen our community as a whole.  We need to educate the community on the benefits and create the motivation to collectively bring about this phenomenal change to the famous Hollywood. People need to see how other parks around the world have been instrumental in building thriving, vibrant communities. It is important for people to believe in the long-term benefit, to be ambitious and determined in bringing about change.  It is easier for people who are constantly surrounded with green space to oppose this project, but what about the younger generation who has had to adapt to the changing socio-economic environment and is in dire need of open spaces to come together.

The potential of Hollywood is endless, and we must do our part in improving it for our future generations.

LG: What are the essential ingredients in making Hollywood a livable and sustainable community?

GT: As Hollywood becomes more urbanized, it will bring along consequences, at which time, the park will be evermore important.

In order to make Hollywood a more livable and sustainable community we need to be able to adapt and respond to a changing environment by planning ahead. It is essential that we are conscious of our climate and our health. We need to be able to maintain strong communities by offering recreational and educational activities, social and cultural programs, etc. The park will touch all of these elements and help shape a stronger community.  The essential ingredient for Hollywood is a little bit more seasoning.

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