The Metro Board of Directors voted unanimously last week to award $15 million to Destination Crenshaw, an open-air museum of public art, parks, and murals that will celebrate black Los Angeles. It will run parallel to a section of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX light rail line.
The board awarded the money to help fund construction of Sankofa Park, an open space that will be located where Crenshaw and Leimert boulevards meet.
Anthony Crump, interim deputy executive officer for community relations at Metro, told the board that this park was selected to receive Metro funds in part because Metro was already on the hook to improve the parcel as part of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line project. The agency planned to reconstruct the center median that is central to the park, as well as replace curbs and sidewalks around the property.
The park also provides a “critical linkage” between Leimert Park and Park Mesa Heights, Crump says.
Destination Crenshaw the community’s response to Metro’s decision to put a section of the Crenshaw/LAX Line along Crenshaw Boulevard at ground level—instead of underground.
The 1.3-mile project—designed by Perkins + Will with landscape by Studio-MLA—will run the length of the above-ground segment of the line, between 48th and 60th streets. There is movement to extend it further north to Obama Boulevard, an addition that would double Destination Crenshaw’s size.
Destination Crenshaw is viewed by Metro officials as an investment in increasing ridership on the under-construction rail line (at a time when transit ridership overall continues its decline) that will contribute to economic development in the area.
According to Crump, the project has a budget of about $100 million. Of that, Crump says Destination Crenshaw has already received $10 million from the state of California and “$5 to 6 million” from city of Los Angeles. Construction is expected to begin this fall.