By Lee Perlman
For the Hollywood Star News, July, 2010
Volunteers from the Hollywood Neighborhood Association last month toured and discussed seven locations previously identified as sites for a future public park or plaza.
As noted last month in this space, architect George Crandall has argued that such a public gathering space is the missing ingredient for development and vitality in Hollywood. Also, the Hollywood Farmers’ Market board would like to have a permanent home that they can count on; the Grocery Outlet has so far been generous in allowing them to use half of their parking lot each weekend, but cannot provide a guarantee that they will always do so.
The seven spaces toured last month were Poor Richard’s Restaurant parking lot, the vacant lot west of the Hollywood Theatre, the Trader Joe’s parking lot, an accounting office on Northeast Broadway at 43rd Avenue, the northeast corner of the intersection of 42nd Avenue and Broadway, the Grocery Outlet parking lot, and the U.S. Bank parking lot. (John Perkins, one of the volunteers working on the project, emphasizes that at this point the group has not inquired whether the property is for sale. A conceptual idea is to institute a sort of tax increment for land around the site, in which required city fees are used to develop the park.)
The 20 volunteers who participated on the tour were asked to rate the spaces based on the following criteria: whether it is centrally located in Hollywood; whether it is located on major car, transit, bike or pedestrian routes; whether it is in an active area or near tall buildings where there would be “eyes” watching activity; whether it is surrounded by businesses, or has zoning that would allow this some day. Based on the ratings and the discussions that followed the tour, the U.S. Bank site seemed the most popular, the 42nd and Broadway site the least. However, Perkins says, “Someone liked each site, and none was universally disdained.”
The next step in the process will be a charette, or public design process, starting at 7 p.m. July 22 at the Hollywood Senior Center, 1820 N.E. 40th Ave. All are welcome to participate.