Monday, March 7, 2011

Why Aren't LA River Advocates Screaming About CRA-LA's Demise?

Why should river advocates care about whether or not the new state budget framework eliminates local community redevelopment agencies (CRAs)?

Take the CRA-LA scenario. There's always a lot of  'noise' about how CRA-LA takes 'poor' neighborhoods, calls them 'blighted' and then redevelops them, causing 'gentrification.'  But the facts tell a different story:

.CRA-LA is the leader in providing affordable housing in the City of Los Angeles (homes!)
.CRA-LA provides financial assistance to small businesses with low cost loans and grants tied to employment generation (jobs!)
.CRA-LA's $1 investment leverages $3-5 in private investment (economic development!)

While it's true that all government monies need to be monitored and spent with greater care, the elimination of CRAs will have tremendous negative urban renewal impact because the CRA structure is the only tool cities in California have to 'jumpstart' local economic activity and construction projects.

Which brings me to the Los Angeles River. Currently, CRA-LA is involved in at least 3 key LA River-oriented activities:

1. CRA-LA has provided the 'seed' money and institutional support to move Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation efforts forward, including the hiring of staff.

2. CRA-LA is working on a new redevelopment zone along the Los Angeles River at the Arroyo Seco Confluence southwards through the California State Historic Park using the Cornfields-Arroyo Seco Specific Plan (CASP) as its blueprint. CASP is an innovative plan to create a complete 'green' sustainable community just north of  Downtown Los Angeles.

3. CRA-LA received federal funding to evaluate the Northeast Los Angeles River Study Zone (see photo above) as a potential redevelopment area. This area covers communities on both the east and west banks of the Los Angeles River, including the communities of Cypress Park, Atwater Village and Elysian Valley. The study will generate invaluable inventorying of community resources and stakeholder input within the River Zone Area.

If these projects are permanently suspended, Los Angeles River Revitalization efforts could be set back for years.

That's why tomorrow's CRA-LA/Los Angeles City Council Joint Meeting is so vital. Public comment is especially critical to persuade the Governor and State Legislature that Los Angeles River Revitalization through CRA-LA means jobs and a healthier community.

If you care about the Los Angeles River's future, come express yourself tomorrow, March 8th, 10:00am, Los Angeles City Hall Council Chambers.

1 comment:

  1. On point as always, MM. The LA River Corporation, which was incubated by the CRA/LA, stands to be adversely impacted along with many other quality economic development organizations.

    We have expressed our concern and opinion directly to every state legislator whose district touches the LA River. We hope others will do the same.

    Daniel Tellalian
    Board Chair


Please be civil, brief, and relevant. Thank you!