Encino parents allege ‘land grab’ in firehouse lease to Armenian group – LA Daily News
By Dana Bartholomew
Parents and principals at Encino Charter Elementary school had long hoped to obtain an abandoned former firehouse next door to add an indoor gym and lunchroom and solve a dire parking shortage and dangerous student drop-off lane.
Only supporters were shocked to read a news report last spring that Los Angeles had agreed to lease its old Fire Station 83 for use as an Armenian cultural center. The price: $1 a year for half a century.
“It’s basically a land grab,” said Lisa Becker, a parent and board member of the Parent Teacher Organization at the LAUSD affiliated charter school. “How the city can justify giving them that property for $1 is beyond me.
“A child’s safety should never be trumped by politics.”
Since the city agreed to lease its vacant firehouse to the Armenian Cultural Foundation in May, a rising tide of residents and San Fernando Valley neighborhood groups have united against a deal they say was hatched in a back room without community input.