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L.A. Salvadoran community sees hope along a new corridor

Business people and others see a hopeful sign as a section of Vermont Avenue becomes the El Salvador Community Corridor.

September 09, 2012|By Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times

"We just have to believe in the corridor," Dominguez said. "All these years we've been so involved with another country, we have neglected to care about where we live. Now is the time for us to care about where we live."

Dominguez's ideas for improving the area are simple: Light the street at night; clean up the trash; help Salvadoran entrepreneurs expand their businesses.

He has personally invested $20,000 into a property on the corridor that he hopes will serve as a community center for art exhibitions and film screenings. The next step is applying for a business improvement district to help fund the cleanup.

Business leaders say there is a new generation of Salvadoran leaders setting an apolitical agenda focused on economic development. That means reaching out to nearby Koreatown, uniting with other Central Americans, even acknowledging the importance of the group that has always overshadowed them, Mexican Americans.

Meanwhile, expectations are high on Vermont Avenue. Toward the back of the corridor, near the 10 Freeway, one business owner is already preparing for the crowds. The rich odor of frying pupusas drifts from the street side eatery's barred windows, and a tinny cumbia blares from a tiny speaker.

Overhead, a hopeful sign declares: "Restaurant El Corredor."

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