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EAST LOS ANGELES : Revitalization Study Urges Housing, Mall

June 27, 1993|MARY ANNE PEREZ

A 16-month study of Boyle Heights and El Sereno has concluded with several recommendations for the communities, including a plan to develop a senior-citizen housing project and a community shopping center.

The Eastside Neighborhoods Revitalization Study, also known as Adelante Eastside, was presented in a public forum last week by the committee of residents, merchants and representatives of community organizations and the industrial sector that compiled the study.

The Community Redevelopment Agency will consider the recommendations sometime in July and most likely send them off to the City Council for approval, said Edward Avila, agency administrator.

The 10-square-mile area is bounded by Main Street, Mission Road and Huntington Drive on the north, the Long Beach Freeway and Indiana Street on the east, the city of Vernon and city of Los Angeles boundary along the south and the Los Angeles River on the west.

"This study started with the premise that the community needs help," said consultant Raul Escobedo, of Barrio Planners Inc., an architectural firm. "But we didn't know what the concerns were, the constraints or its strengths."

The committee found that the area has some of the oldest housing tracts in the city, a lack of open land for new construction and overcrowding.

But the committee members found that the community organizes well when a threatening issue arises, such as the proposed prison east of Downtown, which was defeated in the state Assembly last fall after seven years of opposition, Escobedo said.

The study began with an assessment of the area, in which consultants asked people who live and work in the area about their concerns and problems.

Then the consultants compared the responses to market surveys and census figures.

For example, most people said they noticed much more crowding in the area and that, because there were fewer neighbors out cutting their lawns and planting flowers on Saturday mornings, there were probably more renters than owners. The numbers bore that out, Escobedo said.

The market studies found that many people--enough to support a local shopping center--travel to malls out of the area to buy higher-quality goods.

And, Escobedo said, the committee discovered that revitalization efforts must include the community if the plans are to succeed.

"We just all became convinced that given today's times and problems and given the economy, you have to work with the community," he said. "This will help us monitor the system to make sure that what was supposed to happen, does happen."

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