Inglewood residents in Carlton Square, Briarwood, and Renaissance had been complaining about the heavy parking on Pickney Ave. and around their communities, according to Renaissance resident Kim Holifield-Harmon. But suddenly, the parking issue went away. She later found out why and her frustration went elsewhere, as she focused on Inglewood Park Cemetery.
From the advice of a co-worker, Harmon used an app called Next Door, a free private social network for your neighborhood (allows the user to know what’s going on in their community). The app revealed that parking had been re-routed to Inglewood Park Cemetery. “I was in absolute disbelief. There were pictures of littering after an event that happened. Jack Daniels bottle, panda containers, paper cups. The entire grounds where the cars were parked was covered with litter. I was so frustrated and angry I took all the pictures and posted them on my Facebook page to let my entire Facebook community know what was happening. My husband is buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery,” she said.
Overflow parking for the Great Western Forum was located on the empty lot across the street. Since the construction of the new NFL stadium that parking is no longer available. Many construction pains are being felt by Inglewood residents and now from many who have loved ones buried at the cemetery.
Mayor Butts released the following statement; “The city of Inglewood gives our appreciation to Inglewood Park Cemetery for helping out in this time of transition while overflow parking is unavailable due to the construction of the new NFL arena. On approximately 5 occasions over the past 3 months, the Forum was allowed to park overflow vehicles on the property. The Forum provided security and lighting and clean up services to ensure the parking areas were left clean and unblemished. The parking fees generated for IPC allow the Cemetery to accelerate grounds maintenance.
“My parents rest in Inglewood Park Cemetery and I empathize with the concerns of family members. The city has opened its parking structure on Locust Street, its structure adjacent to city Hall for Forum’s 300 employees and the school district has made lots available for patron parking. McCormick’s Ambulance has helped out as well. Effective June 15, 2017, overflow parking will once again be available adjacent to the site of the football stadium. I again salute all the community partners who have stepped forward and ask for patience as the city rebuilds and progresses,” Mayor Butts stated.
James Finley who found out through a friend, who was directed to park at the cemetery when attending a concert at the Forum. “I really applaud that the city of Inglewood would allow this to happen and Inglewood cemetery itself. No it’s not in the contract but just to have a visual of what happens in parking lots at concerts and to think that that would be taking place. My parents are buried on Los Flores situated off the main road of Inglewood Park Cemetery. The optics of it looks horrible coming down Manchester at night. Do I think these people are parking on graves? No … however if security is not in place like they should, you never know what people might do when they are intoxicated or high, so that’s the problem I have with it! Inglewood Park cemetery insists that through the arrangement made with the city security and lighting is well in place,” said Finley.
Mixed emotions and communications have begun to spread. With some believing that the forum and cemetery made arrangements for the parking. The Sentinel spoke to executive assistant to Rick J. Miller, CEO, Joan Francis who stated, “the city of Inglewood asked Inglewood Park Cemetery, along with some other establishments around the city, the Hollywood Park Casino and local schools. The city itself is allowing their parking structures; everyone’s chipping in, Inglewood Cemetery is one of the establishments. They asked if we could, on a limited basis for a temporary time, participate in this service to the community to allow parking on our grounds after hours. We agreed to allow them to park some of their overflow on our roads. I know there has been an emotional response to this. We understand their concerns about the graves; they’re not affected at all, the Mausoleums are not affected at all. The parking is restricted to the streets the people are walking on the streets,” said Butts.
In response to pictures that have circulated after concerts with alcohol bottles and cups, Francis responded, “The forum provides clean up, parking attendants and security. The cemetery also provides security. Even after a funeral service we have to pick up trash.”
The photos circulating of bottles and cups, were taken by Steve Hawkins who has many family members and friends buried at Inglewood Park Cemetery. He stated, “that has nothing to do with what our problem is, our problem is the after hour parking and the trash that’s left. I felt disrespect for my loved ones,” he said.
Francis of Inglewood Park Cemetery continued, “The Forum gives us something to pay our security guards and any other clean up and things like that that we may have to do. When asked the amount replied, “Oh I have no idea. You can ask the Forum … see if they’ll tell you. I have no idea. My understanding … it’s very minimal. We’re just trying to be good neighbors.”
Madison Square Garden, which owns the Forum has yet to respond.
When asked how long this parking agreement will last, Francis replied, “I’ve heard everything from two months to five years.”
Not all cemeteries are exclusively for burials and love one’s remains. For example, Hollywood Forever is a landmark burial ground for Hollywood VIPs and an entertainment venue for outdoor movies and concerts.
Forest Lawn Cemetary was recently named one of the Top 10 free museums in the country by Yahoo Travel. Forest Lawn Museum is committed to enriching the community through the educational presentation of artwork that focuses on history, culture and religion. The exhibit is open 10am-5pm. They are also hosting the David Bowie: Among the Mexican Masters a unique archive which captures intimate moments between the legendary musician and the cultural heritage of Mexico,made during Bowie’s only visit to Mexico City 20 years ago.
Regardless, Inglewood citizens have begun to congregate on an app called Next Door where Inglewood Cemetery has been a hot topic. We spoke to one Next Door app member who prefers to be named in this interview as Paris-N-Morningside, which is her screen name. “A cemetery is a sacred place not a parking garage. That’s the last sacred place where you would think people had some decorum. People have a very emotional connection to a cemetery. This is supposed to be a peaceful resting place, not a place where people park to go partying and stomping through it,”she said.