Protesters in West Hollywood expressed their frustrations over the city's plans to redevelop a local park during a rally Sunday.
Cathy Blaivis, a community organizer, said the city surprised park users with plans to dig an underground parking garage in the space now occupied by trees, some of them 125 years old, and a pair of historic buildings dating back to the Great Depression.
"The people who really use this park on a daily basis were caught by surprise by the plans,'' said Blaivis. "We didn't know they were going to close the green part of the park for two years to dig an underground garage for just 69 vehicles.''
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As part of the redevelopment, the city plans to enhance and add nearly 47,000 square feet of additional green space. The city will plant additional trees, install an interactive water feature, new play equipment, and create a new performance hall that would accommodate up to 200 people.
More: West Hollywood Park Master Plan
On Friday, the city said it would delay the project's January 2012 groundbreaking to give it time to revise construction plans in an effort to minimize disruption to residents.
On its website, the city said that 76 of the existing trees will remain in place and 80 trees will be "carefully boxed, saved, and replanted." In addition, 90 new, mature trees will be added.
Once construction starts, the project will take approximately 22 months to complete in several phases, the city said.