GPW: Self-Tempered Anarchy since 2009

Your GPW Editor-on-Occasion is Petra Fried in the City.
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stories along The Way

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Preserving a Landmark

When you think of Los Angeles, what comes to mind? Perhaps it's the glitz and glamor of southern California living. Perhaps it's the Santa Monica Pier, or Grauman's Chinese Theatre. For many of us though, our visions of Los Angeles are those of the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding land that is Griffith Park. Finding nature amongst the high rise buildings and lights in Los Angeles can be difficult. While there are obvious exceptions to this statement, Griffith Park is in a league of its own. Spanning 4,000+ acres in the middle of Los Angeles, it is a true gem for those who enjoy hiking, city views, sightseeing, and relaxing in nature. As the largest municipal park in the US, preservation of Griffith Park in all of its natural glory is imperative.

As many of you already know, today, Griffith Park and the Hollywood Sign are at a crossroads. In 2002, a 138-acre parcel of land (known as Cahuenga Peak) surrounding the sign was purchased from the Howard Hughes estate by a group of Chicago investors. Since then, the land has been zoned for the development of luxury homes, a plan that threatens the future of the sign and the preservation of nature for which the nearby Griffith Park stands. Accessibility to Cahuenga Peak and the surrounding area for hikers and tourists will no longer be available and the land around the sign that has previously remained untouched in its natural state will be used to develop property in an area not intended for development.

However, there is still hope for the Hollywood Sign and its surrounding territory. In an effort to prevent this development from taking place, the Trust for Public Land (TPL), thousands of Los Angeles residents, and a number of high profile organizations and people in support of the land's preservation have rallied together to save Cahuenga Peak. $12,500,000 is necessary to preserve the land for the city and incorporate it into Griffith Park. The TPL has already raised a little over $11,000,000 and Aileen Getty and The Tiffany & Co. Foundation have pledged to donate $500,000 if the Los Angeles and California communities can come up with the additional $1,000,000 needed.

The deadline for the TPL to raise $12,500,000 is April 30th. With only a week left to raise the funds, it is now up to the Los Angeles community to join forces and save one of the few areas of undeveloped land left in the city. Los Angeles without the Hollywood Sign is like Las Vegas without casinos, or Paris sans the Eiffel Tower. This land was intended to be used for viewing and admiration of the City of Angels, without which Los Angeles loses its identity.

There are several ways you can help to save the Hollywood Sign and the surrounding land for Griffith Park. Texting the word LAND to the number 50555 will result in a $5 donation on your behalf. If you want to donate more than $5, you can do so at this website dedicated to saving Cahuenga Peak. Now more than ever it is time for the City of Los Angeles to step up and save the land its residents are so fortunate to enjoy and preserve this iconic Los Angeles landmark and its surrounding corner of nature for future generations to enjoy as we already have.

Hat tip for HS image to Flying Jim.