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Mid-City Update: Local Resident Has the Floor

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A member of the Mid City Neighborhood Council writes in to share some perspective on the neighborhood and also respond to the LA Times article. Also, here's our thought: Perhaps Mid City wouldn't get so beat up on if it had a better name? "Mid-City" is weak! Anyhoo, take a listen to his email: "I'm a boardmember on the Mid City Neighborhood Council. We've worked really hard on tackling some tough issues and I can say that in the five years I've owned here (refugee renter from Miracle Mile), we've seen vast improvements. What I've noticed in my time on the board, is that they really welcome the changes and strive to make the neighborhood better. Considering the economic and social diversity of the group, they mostly agree on matters related to gentrification and are willing to spend the time and money incubating those kinds of projects. We've had some successes, but we need to do a better job of attracting galleries, dance studios and other business that will have a complimentary effect on the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center. The area has a long history of challenges. The first hit came with the construction of the Santa Monica Freeway as it effectively isolated the area from larger West Adams. Then in the 60's and 70's white-flight managed to "ghettoize" the neighborhood. In the 80's bars went up in the windows due to rampant gang activity.

Then in the 90's, the Northridge earthquake destroyed many commercial structures including the Ebony Showcase Theater. It wasn't until the late 90's that people began to take a chance and move back in to the area. Since then, the neighborhood has gone from primarily african-american, to almost equally balanced between white, black, hispanic and a smattering of asians moving in from KTown. Gays have been attracted by the central location (WeHo is 10 minutes away on San Vicente Blvd.) and have really been active in renovating the housing stock. Even some of the apartment buildings are beginning to upgrade with new paint and attracting new types of residents like USC students and younger Midwestern newcomers.

What I like about the area is diversity, the central location, and the housing stock. Most of the homes are still intact and yearning for restorations and in 15-20 years, most of these homes will be 100 years old! No, we don't have a Trader Joe's or a real movie theater, but they are at the other end of Washington in Culver City. The Expo Line should also improve mobility and access to the neighborhood. The article was a bit harsh, but not without its realities. Like many places in LA, Mid City has bright spots (Midtown Crossing, Redondo Blvd. homes, Atomic Cafe, Lafayette and Victoria Park), and some tough issues (old motels, pockets of gang activity, blighted commercial properties.)"

via Curbed flickr pool member Googlesque