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Controversy grows over UCLA proposed sale of donated Japanese Garden

UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
UCLA Hannah Carter Japanese Garden
Photo by Drew Wilder-Goodwin via Flickr Creative Commons

Nothing lasts forever. Not even the meaning of "in perpetuity." Last year, a court ruling allowed UCLA to remove the eternally terrifying clause from a 1964 donation agreement, and the university is now looking to sell its Japanese Garden property.

The proposed sale of the Bel Air 1.5-acre Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is viewed by the university as an opportunity to raise roughly $5.7 million for endowments, programs and professorships, but the move to market is strongly opposed by conservationist groups.

The LA Conservancy and Garden Conservancy say the plan does not include protective measures or maintenance requirements for the garden, and that a single family home could still be built on the agricultural zone.

According to the LA Times, the university has already started removing objects from the site, and plans to keep some significant pieces -- including a Buddha statue and pagoda -- at the Fowler Museum or other locations on campus.

The garden, donated to the university in the sixties by a former chair of the UC Board of Regents and named after his wife, has been struggling with rising costs of maintenance, dropping attendance due in part to limited parking, notes Curbed LA.

Designed by Japanese landscape architect Nagao Sakurai, the property includes a gate, bridges, shrines and a garden house for tea ceremonies.. 

A community meeting to discuss the garden is planned for 5:00 pm on Tuesday at the Community Magnet School Auditorium.