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South LA Might Change Its Name to SOLA

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In 2003, the City Council voted to change the name of the area south of the 10 Freeway formerly known as South Central Los Angeles to, simply, South Los Angeles, hoping to get some distance from associations of the former with riots and uprisings, and shake the "negative connotation" the name carried. A name-shedding might happen again, says the LA Times, now that Councilman Bernard Parks has introduced a motion that would have the city officially shortening the region's name to SOLA.

Parks tells the Times that while there hasn't been any community outreach about the change yet, it's something that's been suggested to him in passing by constituents. The name SOLA was big news last summer, when a huge development called SoLA Village was announced for Historic South-Central, just south of Downtown. The towering, 1.66-million-square-foot, Blue-Line-adjacent complex will include nearly 1,500 residential units in two towers over 30 stories tall (*mid-and low-rises, too), plus retail, a 208-room hotel, restaurants, and a grocery store. (The new project is in Councilman Curren D. Price's jurisdiction.) There's no doubt that SoLA Village, when completed, will dramatically alter the neighborhood, which until now has largely been ignored by fancy developers.

And that's where many residents and policymakers become wary. The proposed renaming is an attempt at rebranding, but for whom? "Who is the name change really for? It is really for the residents who live here now or is this about gentrification?", asks Gloria Walton, head of Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education. There haven't been any community outreach meetings yet about the new, shorter moniker; when the City Council discusses the SOLA motion today, it'll be the first time that the public can offer comment on the idea. But if a new name didn't help South LA before, it might be hard to convince people that it's worth another try.
· South L.A. could be renamed 'SOLA' by city in image makeover [LAT]
· First Look at the 35-Story SoLA Village Megaproject Headed Just South of Downtown [Curbed LA]
· Gamechanging Mixed-User/Hotel/Grocery Store Planned For Historic South-Central [Curbed LA]