70.2 F
Los Angeles
Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023



JOE BEL BRUNO Staff Reporter

In the late 1960s, the Exposition Park area was considered a major center of commerce in Los Angeles.

But as residents began migrating to the suburbs, the region’s economy took a dive. Now, property owners in the area say they hope to reverse the downturn by forming a “business improvement district.”

The proposed BID would be formed along a corridor that stretches down Figueroa Street from Exposition Park to the Santa Monica (10) Freeway.

“The area has changed over the years there have been demographic changes, the neighborhoods themselves have changed, and housing patterns shifted to the suburbs,” said Darryl Holter, chief administrative officer for the Shammas Group, which is located in the area. “The upshot is that (Figueroa Street) is no longer what it used to be, and we want to change that.”

Holter whose company owns several car dealerships in the area is one of many local business owners who favor a plan to assess fees on themselves, then use the proceeds to fund any improvements within the proposed district.

The group working to form what would be called The Figueroa Corridor Business Improvement District was awarded a grant last month from the Los Angeles Community Development Department. That grant will be used to hire consultants to help organize the program. The formation process could take up to a year, Holter said.

To activate the assessment by the group’s target date of December 1997, the group must win a majority vote among property owners along the corridor. If the property owners approve the BID, the group would seek a green light from the City Council sometime this summer.

Exempt from paying into a BID are government entities, schools and non-profit groups. However, officials from museums located in the Exposition Park area say they support the BID so strongly that they might even elect to pay into it.

“We haven’t made a final decision (about paying into the BID), but obviously a revitalization of the neighborhood would be of great benefit to us,” said James Gilson, vice president and general counsel of the Natural History Museum Foundation. Gilson said the directors of other local museums are also considering providing financial support.

Non-profit museums and government buildings comprise about 6 to 8 percent of property owners along the proposed BID corridor, Gilson said. The biggest exempted landowner is the University of Southern California.

If the exempted property owners choose to voluntarily support the BID financially, their contributions would total about $35,000 a year.

Among the suggested improvements to be financed through the BID would be a clean-up effort in the area, including sidewalk washing and 24-hour graffiti removal. In addition, merchants would like to establish civilian safety patrols that would work with the Los Angeles Police Department.

Also, the BID might embark on other projects, such as improving traffic patterns and landscaping, as well as providing other amenities to make the area look better. Eventually, the BID would pay for a marketing program to promote the upgraded corridor.

Previous article
Next article

Featured Articles

Related Articles