Hollywood, Ca- September 12, 2012–More than six years of advance work are finally paying off, with repair work which began this week on the world-famous Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Hollywood Historic Trust is the lead agency on the project.

“This is the culmination of years of hard work by the Historic Trust, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, Metro, the Board of Public Works, the Cultural Heritage Commission, the offices of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, and Councilmembers Garcetti and LaBonge, as well as CIM Group and many local business and property owners to raise the money and to establish new specifications necessary to restore the Walk of Fame to glory,” said Christi Van Cleve, co-chair of the Trust.

Donelle Dadigan, also co-chair of the Trust added, “To be honest, the real credit goes to Johnny Grant, our beloved late mayor of Hollywood. Without his leadership, these disparate forces never would have assembled together to develop the plan has led us to this point.”

The effort to rehab the Walk of Fame dates back to 2006. With a noticeable deterioration of the Walk in front of the Hollywood & Highland center, Grant was determined to find a way to make permanent repairs. The problem was that repairs made by the Trust would quickly break up again. A task force was assembled and an expert in terrazzo, by the name of Fritz Iselin, was brought in from Florida to evaluate why the sidewalk kept cracking.

Iselin’s evaluation recommended doubling the concrete base from four inched to eight inches and including more spacers to allow for movement. Before moving forward, it was necessary to install a test strip in order to verify that the recommendation would work. The Historic Trust paid for that test at the corner of Hollywood and Highland. It was necessary to let the test strip sit for a year in order to evaluate how it held up to weather factors and heavy foot traffic.

At the end of the test, it was determined that the new specifications had worked and the City began to draw up the official new specifications and to get them approved.

Meanwhile, efforts were underway to raise the money necessary to make repairs. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce instituted a “Friends of the Walk of Fame” program to seek corporate support. Absolut Vodka and L’Oreal both came on board and contributed to the effort. In addition, the Metro Board and the Community Redevelopment Agency both agreed to make contributions to the program. However, the $500,000 pledged by the CRA was later lost when the State disbanded redevelopment agencies.

Originally estimated to cost about $4-million, it became obvious that with the new specifications the actual costs of repair would far exceed the money raised, and so it was determined to begin at the locations with the worst damage and to address other areas as funding was raised.

There were hopes that the repair effort could begin in 2010, the 50th anniversary of the Walk of Fame, but the complexity of the project made that infeasible.

“Johnny Grant would be very pleased with the progress that we have made,” said Chamber President & CEO Leron Gubler. “Of course he would ask us why it took so long, but he would have been happy! This was one of his highest priorities just prior to his passing.”

The first construction area for the repairs, beginning right after Labor Day, is located on the north side of Hollywood Blvd. just west of Highland Avenue and proceeds west to an area in front of the Dolby Theatre. The construction in this area has been divided into three phases to minimize the impacts on surrounding retail businesses, the Metro station, and the community at large. The first two phases will be completed before the end of 2012, while the third phase will be delayed until March 2013 in order to avoid conflict with the holiday season and the 2013 Academy Awards.

The construction in this area will include a complete removal and replacement of the terrazzo panels and damaged star panels. The soil and structural section below the surface will be removed and replaced. The historic aspects of the star panels will be preserved and reused. Sections of broken curbs also will be removed and replaced.

As a result, DASH and Metro bus stops in the area will be temporarily relocated. The westbound lane adjacent to the curb will be closed for the duration of the first two phases of the project, and then reopened until the third phase begins, when it will be closed again until final completion.

“This is just the beginning,” said Jeff Briggs, who serves on the Trust Board and who was Chamber Chair when the task force first began its efforts. “Now that we have been able to commence work in this location, we can much more rapidly get to other portions of the Walk needing attention. This includes along Vine and virtually the entirety of the Walk. Hollywood has been growing, and continues to grow, and transportation is a key element to the new updated Community Plan. The Walk of Fame rehabilitation ensures that walking will be as much a part of Hollywood growth and transportation as the Redline.”

Help restore the Hollywood Walk of Fame by donating $25 to the Hollywood Chamber. In appreciation, we will send you “Friends of the Walk of Fame” pin with Certificate of Authenticity.

Anyone wishing to contribute to the repair effort is welcome to send a check to the Chamber made out to the “Hollywood Historic Trust” which will then be passed along for future phases.

About the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce (www.hollywoodchamber.net)
For more than 91 years, the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce has provided leadership, business development resources, networking, and government affairs programs and services to keep the Hollywood business and residential communities safe, relevant and economically vital. Christopher Barton is the Chairman of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and Leron Gubler is the President/CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. For more information please visit www.hollywoodchamber.net.

About the Hollywood Walk of Fame (www.walkoffame.com)
The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an internationally-recognized Hollywood icon. With approximately 24 star ceremonies annually broadcast around the world, the constant reinforcement provided to the public has made the Walk of Fame a top visitor attraction. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce continues to add stars to the Walk of Fame as the representative of the City of Los Angeles. The Walk of Fame is a tribute to all of those who worked diligently to develop the concept and to maintain this world-class tourist attraction. The Walk of Fame is open to the public. No paid admission or assigned seating at star ceremonies. For more information, please visit www.WalkOfFame.com

About the Hollywood Historic Trust
Formed in 1979, The Trust provides a great service by assisting the City on a voluntary basis in helping to maintain the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The Trust is established for the purpose of preserving the exotic and historic place known as Hollywood as a museum by maintaining and improving the concept of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Hollywood Sign are registered trademarks of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.