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Community News: Southwest

LEIMERT PARK : Revitalization Proposal Unveiled

October 25, 1992|ERIN J. AUBRY

An ambitious effort to revitalize Leimert Park's commercial areas was begun last week, but for merchants, the revamping proved to be a tough sell.

The Leimert Park Neighborhood Design Workshop, a broad-based partnership whose members include the Los Angeles Conservancy, Woodbury University and area merchants, unveiled a model of one proposed face lift of the area, where a black arts community has blossomed.

"We're taking a holistic approach to this," said Ron Lewis of the Los Angeles Conservancy. "We're involving everyone. I think this kind of intense, step-by-step work by the building agency with the community is a good blueprint for other neighborhoods trying to rebuild."

But others weren't so sure.

"The intentions are good," said Brian Breye, owner of Museum in Black on Degnan Boulevard. "The architectural designs I saw are great. But I feel once they come in and revitalize, the rents will jump up and we'll be gone, along with the arts atmosphere."

Last week, the Design Workshop, whose office is near Crenshaw Boulevard and 43rd Street, held four days of seminars for community and religious leaders, educators and residents on issues such as planning, transportation, recreation and business development.

"It was a wonderful turnout," said Lewis, who added that the Design Workshop wants input from a spectrum of residents and business people.

"Over 200 people from the community came Saturday and Sunday. Community partnership is what we're about. We want this workshop to be a tool for them."

One business owner wants to be sure that this tool doesn't wind up being used against the merchants.

"We don't want to be redeveloped right out of here," said Laura Hendrix, owner of Gallery Plus. "They haven't worked with merchants enough. If they're really serious about working with people, they need to be upfront with what they're doing instead of making us demand information. We had to really be persistent to find out about the meetings.

"I do want the effort," said Hendrix, "but I just want it done right."

Information: (213) 292-4816.

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