Hollywood sign facelift delayed

Paperwork snafu stalls temporary environmental message

A paperwork snafu has delayed the plans of a group trying to cover up the famed "Hollywood" sign and exchange it with a temporary environmental message.

"We're crossing our T's and dotting our I's with city engineers," said a spokesman for the project.

The unveiling of the new message was supposed to happen Thursday, though the group -- called the Trust for Public Land -- is now shooting for Friday.

Engineers had to be convinced that covering the sign with a tarp wouldn't present any dangers should a big wind hit, causing TPL to run through some bureaucratic hoops just before work was to begin Tuesday.

TPL said it has permission to blot out the Hollywood sign only until Monday. It will be replaced with the phrase: "Save the Peak."

It's all part of a celebrity-infused effort to raise money so that the nonprofit TPL can purchase Cahuenga Peak, which consists of 138 acres adjacent to the Hollywood sign that sits on government property.

The group already has raised $6.3 million and needs another $6.2 million to cover the $11.7 million purchase price and other considerations. If it can beat its April 14 deadline and buy the land, it intends to donate it to the City of Los Angeles, which will make it part of Griffith Park.

The Howard Hughes estate sold the Cahuenga Peak land to Chicago-based Fox River Financial Resources eight years ago, and Fox River put it up for sale two years ago for $22 million, but it hasn't found a buyer beyond TPL's option to purchase it at slightly more than half that price.

TPL worries that, unless it buys the land, the investors could sell it to developers who would build four large homes on the property, spoiling the view and a bunch of hiking trails.

Celebrities supporting TPL's efforts include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Virginia Madsen, Tippi Hedren, John Slattery, Aisha Tyler, Julian McMahon, James Kyson-Lee, Beau Garrett and Katherine Morris.