Cemetery Used for Forum Parking Enrages Inglewood Residents

A (not so) funny thing has been happening on the way to the Forum for concert-goers who arrive after the parking area is full, and get referred to a recently designated overlfow parking area on the other side of Manchester Boulevard.

In a cemetery.

"It's disrespectful. You have loved ones here," said Inglewood resident Monique Owens, whose grandmother is interred at the Inglewood Park Cemetery, as are singers Ray Charles and Ella Fitzgerald, actress Betty Grable, and attorney Johnnie Cochran, among other notable figures of the past century.

Using a memorial park for parking has energized local social media, some posting photos of liquor and beer bottles left behind.

"You don't want people walking over your loved ones' graves to go to a concert at the forum," Owens said. "That's ridiculous."

Since the very beginning when the Forum first opened half a century ago as home of the basketball Lakers and hockey Kings, it has never had sufficient parking to handle a full house.  Fortunately, it was able to send oveflow next door to the vast parking lot of the now gone Hollywood Park racetrack.

That space has not been available since last fall, when it went under the grading blade for the massive new project centered around a new NFL football stadium. 

Inglewood Mayor James Butts said flexibility helps with all the economic development in the city, including the stadium and the Forum re-establishing itself  as a popular and frequently booked concert venue.

The city asked the cemetery if it would help out the Forum on an interim basis, and the cemetery agreed.  

But some wish another solution could have been found.

"I didn't know all this would be happening when they said the Rams was coming," said Inglewood resident Barbara Jones.

Mayor Butts said the Forum is providing  security and lighting and emphasized the reliance on cemetery roads is only temporary--unlike at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, which in recent years has hosted outdoor movie nights, allowing patrons to park inside the grounds and spread out blankets to watch films from the cemetery lawn.

Some expressed worries the Inglewood arrangement  would continue till completion of the stadium, expected in 2019, but Thursday the Mayor told NBC4 a new 16 acre parking lot will be available near the site for the football stadium by June 15.

Jones said that maybe she wouldn't be so adamant "if my mother were not over there.

"But, gee, can't they have a little peace?"

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