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Church on historic Olvera Street, city strike fee agreement

August 17, 2011 |  2:56 pm

Friends of La Plaza church march to city hall Los Angeles city officials announced a tentative agreement Wednesday to keep La Plaza United Methodist Church on historic Olvera Street operating for up to the next 30 years.

The city and church had been in contentious negotiations since 2006, when a 50-year lease that charged the church $1 per year expired. At one point, church leaders were locked out of the building.

The negotiations were about "making sure we’re fair to the taxpayers of the city of L.A., but also respecting the fact that we’re talking about generations of history at El Pueblo," said Rick Coca, a spokesman for Councilman Jose Huizar. "We’re not talking about some random storefront in a city-owned lot."

The agreement still must be approved by the city’s Arts, Parks, Health and Aging Committee.

It states that the El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument Authority Commission and the City Council will charge the church $663 per month to use the building for 80 hours.

The agreement, which requires the church to establish a publicly available museum, would last 15 years with an option to extend it for another 15 years.

Huizar announced the agreement at City Hall in front of dozens of church members and supporters who had marched from the church to rally support for their cause.

Calls to church officials for comment on the proposed plan were not immediately returned.


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-- Paloma Esquivel

Photo: Friends of La Plaza United Methodist Church march toward City Hall from Olvera Street.

Credit: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times