Help save Belmont Art Park

July 13, 2005 on 4:53 pm | In global news | Comments Off on Help save Belmont Art Park

Belmont Art Park, site of the famous tunnel featured on the cover of the recent New York Times article, is still in danger of being destroyed. The culprit: a housing developer who has repeatedly demonstrated disrespect for both the law and the local community’s wishes.

Belmont Art Park United is preparing a letter from the community to the local government board with authority over the site. If you’d like to add your name to the signature list, please send an email to belmontartproject@yahoo.com with your name and the group you represent. Better yet, write your own letter, and send it to this address:

CalEPA, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region

320 W. 4th Street, Suite 200

Los Angeles, CA 90013

Attn: Yue Rong, PhD

213-576-6710

For more details, read on:


From Belmont Art Park United:

1304 W. 2nd Street, near downtown Los Angeles, is the site of the first subway tunnel built in the city in 1925. It was closed in 1955, as the world’s largest metropolitan rail transit system slowly began to dismantle to make way for automobiles. From the 1980s, up until last November, the site was a popular neighborhood gathering place, outdoor art gallery, ancient Mexican Indian ballgame court, and a profitable film shoot location. In early 2003, planning began for building a 276 unit apartment complex on this site, but the community was not alerted of these plans until August of 2004. At that point Belmont Art Park United (BAPU), a group of local concerned citizens, began to address the environmental and community problems that are faced. Two main issues are: The City of Los Angeles has not granted an “Environmental Impact Report,” even though this site is across the street from the infamous Belmont Learning Center; and illegal demolition occurred 4 times before the City finally voted on the historic monument status of the site. Part (or all?) of the site was declared a Historic Cultural Monument for the City of Los Angeles on February 23, 2005.

Current Situation: Plans are underway to begin construction on two separate apartment buildings, one for low income and one for higher income, though the plans approved were for one mixed income building. The developers must remediate gasoline leakage at the site before they can continue. Part of the site used to be a Shell gas station in the 1940s. Underground Storage Tanks have been buried for all these years, but only recently leaked gasoline into the soil and groundwater, when they were removed, illegally, by the developers. The State Water Board is now over-seeing the remediation process of this clean up. Although the city is the lead agency in most things, the Region 4 Water Board does have some authority, as far as considering all the environmental concerns. BAPU will be writing a letter, addressing the history of the site and current environmental concerns, delivering it on Monday, July 18. This is intended to be a community letter. It will be available as draft and then final copy. If you would like to have your name added to this letter, please send an email back with your name and title or the group you represent to belmontartproject@yahoo.com. The more names the better. Additionally, if you would like to write your own letter, here is the address: CalEPA, California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Los Angeles Region, 320 W. 4th Street, Suite 200, Los Angeles, CA 90013. The telephone number is 213-576-6710, and Yue Rong, PhD, is the representative for the case.

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