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CHINATOWN : Gateway Could Help Revive Area

August 21, 1994|TOMMY LI

St. Louis prides itself on the Gateway Arch. San Francisco stands out with its Golden Gate Bridge. New York touts the Statue of Liberty.

And now, Los Angeles' Chinatown may soon have its own monument to identify itself as a gateway to the city and the Pacific Rim.

Residents and merchants have pledged up to $400,000 for construction of an entryway at North Broadway and Cesar E. Chavez Avenue. They envision a 16-foot bridge that stretches across Broadway, with neon lighting and topped by a pagoda.

"The idea for this particular bridge is to identify Chinatown as an entrance to the community," said Don Toy, a Chinatown activist and representative of the Teo Chew Assn. "People don't know where Chinatown is and where it begins."

Teo Chew, the province in China from which some residents and merchants in the association had emigrated, is the name of the group spearheading the project. It started a pledge drive for the gateway late last year and has since attracted interest from 10 other organizations.

On Tuesday, the project received formal support from the City Council, which instructed all city departments to cooperate with developers, officials said.

Although two gateways already stand outside Central Plaza--the site of New Chinatown at a small section sandwiched by North Broadway and Hill Street--Toy said new entryways are needed for visitors because the community's boundaries have expanded north toward Dodger Stadium and south toward Downtown.

He and Teo Chew Assn. members believe a new gateway facing Downtown could help revive Chinatown's struggling economy.

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