Griffith Park is designated an LA cultural monument

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Neighbors of Griffith Park are celebrating its recently-granted status as a cultural monument in the city of Los Angeles. KPCC's Molly Peterson checked out yesterday's ceremony.

Molly Peterson: One of L.A.'s great public love stories in recent years has involved city councilman Tom LaBonge and what he calls the city's crowning jewel – Griffith Park.

Tom LaBonge: All the joy that public space brings, and all the joy that this public park brought, I thought, that's the most important thought.

Peterson: LaBonge famously hikes the park every day. On this day he unveiled a sign at Riverside Drive and Griffith Park Boulevard – next to a statue of the park's founder, and across the street from the city's Mulholland fountain.

LaBonge: I wish in the middle of the night I could be here. To listen to Griffith Jenkins Griffith talk to William Mulholland. The two things you need in life are water and relationships. Mulholland brought the water but Griffith brought the relationships, to the space, to the land, to the city.

Peterson: The new sign at Griffith Park is more than ornamental. A historian of the park, Mike Eberts, says that from now on, development within city monument number 962 will meet with more scrutiny from city commissions.

Mike Eberts: I think there will always be plans to develop the park. I'm not sure that every plan should be rejected out of hand. But I think what this does is it tilts the playing field in favor of those who want to keep the park in its current state.

Peterson: More than a century after Colonel Griffith Jenkins Griffith donated the land, the park that bears his name covers 4,200 acres of Los Angeles. The colonel's great-grandson, Van Griffith, said he helped push for the park's new status after a draft city master plan proposed commercial development there four years ago.

Van Griffith: I'd just like to see the park stay the way it is and be the lungs of the city with all the trees and everything, and get away from the hustle and bustle, and hike and be by themselves. It's fabulous.

Peterson: Surrounded by preservationists, park lovers, politicians, and a barking dog, Griffith stood near the new sign. He said his great- grandfather would be ecstatic at the protection it offers.