In 2012, the ambitious proposal to cap the Hollywood freeway with park space was riding high thanks to a $1.2 million windfall. The gift from the Aileen Getty Foundation, combined with $825,000 in already-committed city funds, was expected to finance the entirety of the project's environmental study.
Five years later, that optimistic prediction seems to have fallen short. Yesterday, 13th District Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell introduced a motion which would direct $1.53 million in CRA/LA excess bonds to fill a funding gap. The new monies would go towards the completion of Hollywood Central Park's environmental impact report, as well as any associated technical studies.
The project, officially proposed by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 2007, would cap an approximately one-mile segment of the US-101 freeway between Hollywood and Santa Monica Boulevards, creating a linear, 44-acre green space. The park has been billed as a way to knit the two halves of Hollywood back together, more than 60 years after they were torn apart by the construction of the freeway in the early 1950s.
Completion of Hollywood Central Park - which carries an estimated $1 billion price tag - imagines a meandering stretch of open space featuring grass fields, athletic courts, and children's play areas. The park's backers have mentioned private sector donations and federal grants as a potential funding source, but have also explored the possibility of establishing an enhanced infrastructure financing district to provide a dedicated stream of tax revenue for the project.
Per the project's official website, approximately 180,000 people live within a one-mile radius of the freeway trench. Hollywood is among the most park-poor neighborhoods in Los Angeles, with just .005 acres of open space per resident.
The proposed Hollywood park is among several freeway cap projects under consideration in Los Angeles County, including a similar proposal for the 101 Freeway in Downtown Los Angeles. The City of Glendale has also explored the possibility of capping a segment of the 134 Freeway, which runs north of its downtown.