The proposal to build a 44-acre park above the 101 Freeway in Hollywood has taken a crucial step forward.Friends of Hollywood Central Park, a non-profit organization orchestrating the park initiative, hired a team to conduct an environmental impact review (EIR) of the project, a necessary report required before any construction can begin.
The selection of FirstCarbon Solutions in Irvine was announced last month after a competitive bidding process. The proposed project would cap the 101 at street level on a one-mile stretch between Hollywood and Santa Monica boulevards, where the freeway dips below grade, and establish a green out-door park with community facilities such as a baseball diamond.
The concept was first evoked nearly 30 years ago, but got off the ground in 2006 when responsibility for its establishment shifted from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce to Friends of Hollywood Central Park.
The EIR is funded by a $1.2 million donation from the Aileen Getty Foundation and $825,000 from the City of Los Angeles. The report will analyze the park's impact on the community, traffic, noise, air quality and other environmental issues. The review should begin nearly immediately and be completed within about one year, according to Robert A. Francisco, president of FirstCarbon Solutions. While environmental reviews can sometimes be problematic, Francisco said he thinks a park project will be low impact and embraced by most of the community. "We aren't expecting a great deal of controversy and we think it's largely a great project for the community,” he said. "It really enhances a city that's been bifurcated by a freeway and has limited park space."
This article was featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal in the issue for March 4-10, 2013, Volume 35, Number 9.
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