Dear South LA,
I hope everyone is staying safe by wearing a mask, avoiding large gatherings and socially distancing when possible. We will continue providing you with regular updates on the pandemic and vaccinations as more information becomes available.
I’m proud to present you with updates on the major housing and infrastructure developments currently undergoing or having finished construction in Council District 8. One of the main reasons that I decided to run for City Council to represent the community in which I was born and raised, is to facilitate community centered economic development in our neighborhoods and address the inequities in land use. Among the most blatant forms of systemic racism is the dilapidated conditions caused by nearly half a century of disinvestment from both public and private sectors. The condition of our public and common spaces often dictates our health and wellbeing, safety and security, and even our achievement and self-determination. These conditions not only deteriorate our quality of life, but can further deter private investment when infrastructure is crumbling and lacking.
Lasting change and community-centered economic development will not happen overnight, but my team and I continue to work every day to fight for it to happen. All of the following projects have had varying levels of community input and engagement, including opportunities to comment at public hearings and community town halls, as well as community committees working alongside architects to design pools, housing, streets and the public Right of Way for our major corridors. I’m proud to present these updates and ask you to provide input in shaping the future of our neighborhoods.
Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson
CD8 Navigation Center
Homelessness remains one of the most critical issues in our City. A brand new Navigation Center located at 729 W. Manchester Ave. completed construction earlier this year. It is a one stop service center for people experiencing homelessness. This $8 million initiative was funded using Measure HHH, a $1.2 billion voter initiative I co-authored in 2016 to fund permanent supportive housing developments and resources for homeless residents. This center will provide resources to help individuals find employment and housing. Additionally, the Navigation Center will provide a safe place for people to store their belongings and access hygiene services. Join us on Facebook for a virtual community grand opening where residents and stakeholders will be able to tour the facility and learn more about the services available.
Pointe on Vermont
The Pointe on Vermont is a new mixed use development that is currently under construction and scheduled to open next year. The project is located at 7600 S. Vermont Avenue and will address the need for housing and commercial space in the neighborhood. It will offer commercial space on the ground floor in addition to 25 permanent supportive housing units and 24 affordable residences for low income individuals and families. The commercial space planned for the ground floor includes a community meeting space, recording studio, and retail space.
Construction began earlier this year on Isla Intersections, a $22-million development that will create 52 Permanent Supportive Housing units and an outdoor paseo for chronically homeless individuals. It is located at a formerly vacant and odd shaped median at the intersections of Imperial and Broadway, the 110 and 105 freeways, and the LAX air path. This facility provides social services on site for its residents. I believe that permanent supportive housing can include amenities that support the wellness of the entire community and does not sacrifice quality. Isla Intersections will be built entirely out of shipping containers. This project will create vibrant green spaces and a wall of special trees creating what many call a “living lung” to filter pollutants emitted from the 110 and 105 freeways adjacent to the property. Financing includes Measure HHH funds as well as a major gift of $3M from Annenberg Foundation. Construction crews are completing preliminary and foundation work on the site. The shipping containers will arrive on site for final assembly by March 2021 and tenants may be able to move in as early as Summer 2021.
Construction recently began on the Western/Expo Streetscape Project. This is a $3 million investment to transform Western Avenue from Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. to Exposition Blvd. into a safer, greener, and more vibrant commercial corridor. When I first came into office, there was only $300,000 dedicated to this corridor to fix broken sidewalks. My office worked closely with the Hobart Avenue Block Club, A Community of Friends, the local Park Advisory Board and other King Estates residents to design a more complete makeover. City staff at the Bureau of Street Services worked with us to secure the additional funding. This project will repair sidewalks, add new pedestrian lighting, landscaping and recreational enhancements, and commission public art to beautify the King Estates neighborhood and safely connect community assets like Martin Luther King Park, The Expo Line Station, as well as Foshay Middle School and King Elementary. This project is scheduled to be completed Summer 2021.
Revitalizing our key corridors is a critical catalyst for economic development. Make Jefferson Beautiful is a community-initiated campaign to make Jefferson Blvd a pedestrian and bicycle friendly street for families and businesses. My team and I continue to work with the North Area Neighborhood Development Council, Redeemer Community Partnership as well as residents and local business owners on Jefferson Blvd. in efforts to enhance the safety, beauty, and health of the corridor. Improvements include planting trees, painting murals, installing LED street lighting, addressing nuisance businesses and more.
Manchester-Broadway Our Way
Work has begun on the Manchester Beautiful and Broadway Our Way projects. These adjacent projects include a multi-year, complete redesign of Manchester Blvd. from Broadway Ave to Vermont Ave., and Broadway Avenue from Imperial Hwy to Manchester Blvd.. Located in a historically disinvested area of our city, these corridors suffer from dangerous traffic speeds that result in one of the highest numbers of pedestrian and bicyclist fatalities and severe injuries in the City. My team and I engaged hundreds of residents, students, parents, school administrators, and local business owners over the last three years to develop these transformative projects. The 92nd Plus Block Club, Southeast Neighborhood Council and Judy Ivie Burton Tech Academy High School were particularly active in shaping the nature of the improvements. We also organized a community bike ride for residents to see the progress. There are 12 schools along this stretch of Manchester and Broadway. With new sidewalks, improved pedestrian safety, protected bike lanes, and a re-imagined street median, this project will be a radical improvement for the community. The Broadway Corridor will be a leading model of safe street design for the City of LA.
The street redesign will be completed in phases to quickly address safety and maintenance:
Phase I, on Broadway from Manchester to Imperial, includes the installation of protected bike lanes, street repavement, and new on-street markings for parking and traffic lanes. These measures will immediately make Broadway a much safer street for walking, biking, and driving. Maintenance work for this project work on Broadway from Manchester to Century was completed in October 2020, and will continue from Century to Imperial in mid-December 2020. Check out our progress on this video: https://m.facebook.com/mhdcd8/videos/broadway-our-way-project-update/237160594428479/
Phase II will include a complete redesign and reconstruction of Broadway including a linear park along the median, to begin in 2023.
I encourage residents to share their input on what should be placed in the median on Broadway. Take the Survey at https://new.maptionnaire.com/q/32y6dpx8o9j6
Van Ness Pool and Bathhouse
The Van Ness Park pool and bathhouse has been an important asset to our community, being the site where multiple generations of South Los Angeles families first learned how to swim. Sadly, it has been closed and in disrepair for over a decade. This was one of the first capital projects for which my team and I worked on securing funds. It has been under construction during much of 2020 and will be open in time for the coming Summer, depending on the pandemic. Currently, artist Michael Massenburg has been painting a mural on the new bathhouse. South LA deserves the highest class amenities and access to quality art without leaving our neighborhoods. Michael Massenburg was raised in Los Angeles and uses art to explore the issues of class, race and culture. Along with his art-making practices, Michael is a teacher, community organizer, and activist for various organizations and causes.
Until the Van Ness Park pool and recreation classes reopen, feel free to sign up for a virtual fitness class at: LAParks.org/VIRTUALRECREATION
Algin Sutton Pool and Bathhouse
The Algin Sutton Pool and Bathhouse are crucial community assets, and after a long period of construction, they were completed earlier this year. The facility now includes a beautiful new competition-sized pool, remodeled bathhouse with showers and changing rooms, a shaded pavilion, splashpad, and outdoor showers. We look forward to welcoming you all to enjoy a swim in the near future!
Until the Algin Sutton Park pool and recreation classes reopen, feel free to sign up for a virtual fitness class at: LAParks.org/VIRTUALRECREATION