People in Los Angeles love the Runyon Canyon Park. It is estimated that 1.8 million people visit the 136 acre park each year for the hiking trails, the areas where dogs can roam off-leash, and of course, the Hollywood sign. However, catering to the masses costs money. This is why the city’s Recreation and Parks Department’s partnership division has allowed private donor to sponsor maintenance projects.
One such project has raised the ire of park users. An LA Times.com report highlighted the story of a private company’s sponsorship and construction of a retaining wall and basketball court that was initially approved by the city in November. Nevertheless, public outcry over the company’s logo on the basketball court has caused city officials to rescind its approval.
Ironically, the rescission will cost the city nearly $210,000 because much of the work on the project has already been completed.
Park users were apparently unaware of the project before the end of March, when the park was being closed to repair aging water pipes. The park was scheduled to be closed for four months while the retaining wall and basketball court were being built. This caused opponents of the project to dominate a recent council meeting and inundate the councilman responsible for approving the project with phone calls. While the council has yet to officially halt the project through a vote, it is a virtual certainty that it will be halted.
The project is a cautionary tale for private entities working with city officials. It is helpful to have an experienced real estate attorney to help navigate the administrative process so that a project can be successful.