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Council Appropriates $1.5M for Tara Project

The Laurel Avenue park space and historic preservation project gets funding.

The West Hollywood City Council on Tuesday allocated $1.5 million for preserving historic buildings and creating public park space at 1343 Laurel Ave., also known as Tara or Laurel Park.

Heery International, a consulting firm hired by the city, will create a "property stabilization plan" and supervise subsequent construction for a $295,000 fee, according to a council staff report.

"(Heery) will identify a scope of work necessary to stabilize the buildings, prevent progressive damage that commonly occurs in uninhabited structures, optimize conditions to protect the structures for future use and provide accessibility in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act," the report states. "The proposed scope of work will retain the historic character of the buildings but is not rehabilitation, renovation or reuse project and will not result in the structures being opened for public use at this time."

The city-owned property consists of a 30,000-square foot lot, a 7,177-square foot main house and a 2,379-square foot building that contains a chauffeur's cottage and garages.

"The original portions of the structures were built in 1917," the report states. "The conversion of the original single family residence into four apartment units and the southerly four-car garage addition were completed in 1941. The property was designated as a local cultural resource by the city of West Hollywood in 1994."

The stabilization plan is expected to be completed and presented to the council in late February.

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me January 26, 2013 at 02:03 AM
CONGRATS TO THOSE WHO SAVED TARA!!! What a long-fought battle this was for allegra and her pals to save this weho treasure!!!!....it's unfathomable to me why the city fought so long and hard, and at great expense, with big plans to completely ruin this amazing gem in our own backyard.....i remember the first time i laid eyes on the house and grounds; i instantly imagined a time back in the day when perhaps the whole neighborhood was as charming as this beautiful and tranquil place......now, we are an over-developed mess and it's bound to get much worse if we stay the course that our city council wants us to....my only hope is that someone is keeping a very close eye on their plans to ensure the city doesn't get sneaky again and try to slip something in....i'm very curious as to why it's taking so long to decide what to do with the house though.....there's such a HUGE amount of rich history packed into our little 1.9 mile long city; i'd think part of the house should be used as a historical museum and non-profit preservation office....from the town of sherman and the pacific railroad running through.....to the music and protests of the sunset strip.....to gay liberation and aids activism.....to our avenues of design....to our rich history of well-known people who have lived, worked and played here and ssooo much more.....we have a lot of stories to tell and nobody is doing a very good job at telling those stories to date....
Megan January 27, 2013 at 07:08 PM
I thought the house was supposed to be used as senior housing. What happened with that?
Brian Hamilton January 27, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Megan: The attempt to destroy Tara with development has been twice defeated in the courts. It will be a public park for all citizens, as its donor intended. There is some history here at this link http://www.savetara.org/ and elsewhere on the internet, by doing a simple search.
Chris Bray January 27, 2013 at 08:19 PM
A million and a half dollars for work that "will not result in the structures being opened for public use." Hmm.
Brian Hamilton January 29, 2013 at 08:46 PM
I have just been informed by a very reliable source that the contract recently approved was not just for a plan, It includes the replacement of the roof, weatherization of the exterior, incuding widows, etc, as well as other enginnering services necessary for the rehabilitation of the buildings and property. The agreement covers a lot of services to be performed over a long period of time. Landscapers have been clearing and trimming trees and bushes over the past few days. The park is looking great. It will be nice to have the now fenced off areas opened up, nearly doubling the size accessible to the public.

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