Driving through Los Angeles (or riding the Metro Line), one can't help but be aware of how the chronic impact of sustained poverty and the incredible power of smart redevelopment exist side by side.
On Crenshaw Blvd., we see the empty stores and empty lots that have plagued this community and we wonder how to bring businesses and jobs back to these neighborhoods. Driving down Washington Blvd. in Culver City we see a city revitalized brimming with new restaurants, local shops, the arts, young people, families, movie theaters and life. How did this happen and how can we replicate it?
The answer is in reinvesting in our communities with smart redevelopment.
Culver City wasn't always this way. Just a decade ago, the intersection of Washington Blvd. and Culver Blvd. was virtually empty. But slowly, over time and with money from the state, we added a movie theater, then a restaurant, some shops, another restaurant until we built a vibrant downtown.
Walk through Culver City on a Friday night and you will be overwhelmed with this city's vitality. That's why I was against the state's dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency because it was exactly projects like Downtown Culver City that proved how effective smart use of these funds could be. Now, many cities, including nearby Santa Monica, are feeling the strain of making sure they provide great services with fewer dollars.
Yet, we cannot give up. This type of turnaround is long overdue for Crenshaw Blvd. We can turn that street around. We need to come together, as a community, find resources, come up with ideas and make it happen.
Below, you will find some pictures illustrating Culver City's dramatic transformation. Many leaders, groups, agencies, nonprofits and donors played a role in this project. It's time to put together a similar Coalition for the Crenshaw corridor.