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Officials to cover landmark Hollywood sign

February 9, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
The world famous Hollywood sign will be covered later this week with a banner that says "Save the Peak" as part of an effort to raise money to help purchase property around the landmark and protect it from development.A non-profit group trying to save land west of the sign from development planned to unveil its campaign Thursday morning. But Los Angeles police released information about the plan by issuing a community e-mail alert, hoping to avoid phone calls from worried citizens.

The Public Trust for Lands, a non-profit group out of San Francisco, wants to purchase nearby Cahuenga Peak to keep development from encroaching on the landmark sign.

The group says it has raised about half the asking price for the 138-acre mountain top parcel. The trust hopes to buy the land from a Chicago investment group that bought it from the estate of Howard Hughes in 2002 for $1.7 million. The trust has until April 14 to complete the deal.

The Chicago investors had hoped to sell the peak for as much as $40 million for building sites, but Councilman Tom LaBonge asked the land trust to help preserve the mountain top.

The police alert tells citizens the banner will only cover the Hollywood sign letters and will not change them.