It's been nearly a month since the Arts District Business Improvement District was dissolved by a judge, leaving the neighborhood without its street cleaning crew and bike security patrols. The services had been paid for via a fee assessed on property owners in the area, but some alleged that money had been misspent, and the judge agreed (see update below). So have the locals been overrun by garbage and marauding youths? Ever-intrepid Downtown News went over to find out, and ... nope! After two days of canvassing, they "saw little evidence of trash pile-ups or other problems." But not everyone is embracing this brave new world; one resident says that "there's a big pile of crap on Third Street right now that before, it would be gone in two seconds. It's been there for two days. I resent that." If history is any precedent, such problems may be short-lived. When property owners in the nearby Toy District decided to let their business improvement district expire in 2010, they also saw an increase in trash on the street. But only for a few months. One property owner said that "after a while, they're definitely going to adjust in the Arts District. I think it's really not a big deal." Comforting words as Arts Districters contemplate their future: to reform the improvement district under new management or not? An exploratory meeting for residents to discuss the issue is scheduled for later in the month.
Update 6/12: A rep for the Central City East Association clarifies for us that "The court found that the inclusion of 'Economic Benefit and Communication' activities did not fit the definition of 'special benefits'. The BID was formed, renewed, and operated with total regard to all the rules established by the City of Los Angeles and State of California." The judge did not find that money was misspent. The BID would not necessarily have to be reformed "under new management" if it were to reform.
· After Arts District BID's Demise, Trash Worries Rise [DN]
· Vincent Gallo and Friends Have Killed Off the Arts District Beautification Program [Curbed LA]