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Governor Vetoes Funds for Library Restoration

July 09, 1987|DENISE HAMILTON | Times Staff Writer

Hopes that the former Eagle Rock Library might be renovated anytime soon as a community center were dashed this week when Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed a $238,000 restoration grant in the 1987-88 state budget.

It was the third time that state funds to renovate the library have been denied. Two earlier attempts to get state money failed to make it out of legislative committee, but Eagle Rock residents and officials felt the measure stood a good chance this year because it passed both the state Senate and the Assembly.

But, on Tuesday, Deukmejian slashed $663 million in projects statewide before signing a $45-billion state budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The Eagle Rock library restoration funds were part of a local assistance package for the Department of Recreation and Parks that Deukmejian reduced from $14.8 million to $1.6 million.

In a written statement, the governor said the projects lacked "significant statewide priority" and were not "of a critical or urgent nature requiring immediate funding."

Local officials greeted the veto with dismay.

"Now we will have to regroup and see what other avenues, if any, are open to us," Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alatorre said.

Officials Backed Effort

Alatorre represents Eagle Rock and worked closely with the office of state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) in support of restoration.

A spokesman for Torres said the senator might consider asking for special legislation to authorize the renovation. He added that Torres planned to meet with Alatorre on the matter.

Eagle Rock's library moved to new, larger quarters in 1981 after the original building in the 2200 block of Colorado Boulevard, a 62-year-old structure styled after a Spanish mission, failed to meet new earthquake requirements.

The building has been empty since the move, gathering dust and home only to occasional transients.

Declared a Landmark

In 1983 the City of Los Angeles declared it a cultural-historic landmark, making it eligible for state and federal funding. But no money has been forthcoming.

Officials and local residents would like to renovate the two-story, 6,500-square-foot facility for community use, perhaps as a senior center or cultural gallery.

That is in keeping with the library's history. In the past, the library's basement often housed dance and music recitals. There is also a small garden and an upstairs room that opens onto an outdoor patio.

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