A three-quarter-acre patch of overgrown brush and bougainvillea has sparked a turf war between the Hollywood Rotary Club, which envisions turning the area into a garden park, and a local foundation that wants to use the land for a Head Start program.
The 35,000-square-foot corner lot at Franklin and Ivar avenues is a stone’s throw from the Hollywood Freeway and is owned by Caltrans, which is mandated by the state to rent land it does not use.
Hollywood Rotary officials say that Caltrans agreed last year to deed the property to the service club so it could build a garden park for neighborhood children. But according to Diane Kane of Caltrans, the agency has always envisioned Hollywood Rotary sharing the land with Head Start.
Laura Dodson, community services director at Hollywood Rotary, said she only recently became aware of the proposed joint use. Calling the lot “one of the few open spaces left above Hollywood Boulevard,” Dodson and about 80 local residents who support the proposed park gathered at the site last Saturday, bearing signs reading “Let Nature Speak” and “We Want a Garden.”
What the area doesn’t need, she said, are more structures.
Caltrans said it is waiting for the Foundation for Early Childhood Education, manager of the Head Start program, to submit a site plan detailing how it will use the approximately 6,000 square feet of land the agency has allotted it. Of the three-quarter-acre lot, only about one-quarter acre can be used; the rest is too hilly for construction.