By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
Ironically, these financially democratized developments often prove more successful, even as they take less in subsidies from the public than projects where the land is heavily concentrated to benefit one private owner.
Suhr notes that in the battle for consumers between Santa Monica Place, a large mall, and the more human-scale Third Street Promenade controlled by individual owners, the promenade proved more popular. That was repeated in Pasadena, where a merchant-driven redevelopment on Colorado Boulevard is more popular than Paseo Colorado, a mall.
“Loans to small business? It would definitely boost [the area] because right now, in South L.A., it’s so hard for any small business to get money or start-up funds,” observes Johnson, the South L.A. neighborhood activist. Such investments could replace the overwhelming number of liquor stores and used-car lots with more community-friendly businesses, he believes.
“There’s a holistic store on Imperial and Vermont,” he tells the Weekly. “They’re a mom-and-pop store that sells different herbals, healthy things. They’ve been there since I was a little kid. My grandmother used to go there. It could really use funding.”
In fact, the CRA has tried to rejuvenate South L.A. by funding human-scale rehabs involving numerous small recipients on such streets as Vermont Avenue and Adams Boulevard, and in Leimert Park. But those don’t fulfill City Hall’s lust for a glimmering downtown. For example, this year, Johnson’s council representative, Perry, sought $2.8 million in public fiscal help — for MOCA, the sleek downtown museum with the multimillion-dollar art collection where private fundraising has been lagging.
If approved, that money would be spent far from Johnson’s home, located near the corner of Florence and Normandie, ground zero of the 1992 riots. In fact, Perry’s plan would divert money to the art museum from a Community Redevelopment fund — one dedicated almost exclusively to South L.A.
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