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Residents of the 600 block or E. 52nd Place are fighting developers to save the historic homes in their neighborhood.
The Tifal Brothers built the craftsman homes on 52nd Place, between Avalon and McKinley, in 1911. Over the years well known residents have lived on the street, including former City Councilman Gilbert Lindsey.
The residents are not totally against new construction, but they are opposed to the type of homes that are being built. All of the homes on 52nd Place are one story, single-family homes, and they all have similar architectural style. A new home that was recently built is a two story duplex, and it does not resemble any of the other houses on the street.
Over the years this street has been kept up nicely. But the last few years it has taken a bit of a slide, according to resident Clifford Shanklin. More renters have moved in. With more renters, there has been an increase in crime. There is a fear that these new duplexes will bring in section 8 residents.
“Not to be against renters, and I know that there is a need for affordable housing, but historically we have had home owners and we have kept the street up pretty good,” said Janae Oliver, whose great-grandmother purchased a home on 52nd Place. “We just want to preserve the street and keep it the way it is.”
The construction of duplexes causes another problem. There is parking on only one side of the street. Duplexes mean more residents, which will be a problem with the limited parking spaces.
The residents have called upon their Councilwoman Jan Perry to help them save the homes. Councilwoman Perry is working with them to make the street a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, which would stop the destruction of the homes.
“Some residents have been on this street for 50 years plus,” said Sharon Oliver, who is a principal at a local school. “My sister, who was born on the street, has been there for 76 years. We do not mind people coming to live in the neighborhood. But we do mind that they are coming in and just putting up something that totally does not fit what is already there, without even including us in the decisions.”
According to Sharon Oliver there were no notices on the house that was demolished.
“This is a total disregard to the neighbors,” Shanklin said. “It’s like, ‘we build this, and forget you, we don’t care.’ Most communities, you live with the people in your community even though they live in a different house.”
Sharon Oliver feels that part of the problem is that many Blacks have left the area. The new residents do not understand the historical value of these homes.
The housing crisis in Los Angeles seems to be one major reason why these duplexes are being built.
“The lot sizes on this street are not big enough to house all these families,” Janae Oliver said. “The answer is not to destroy culturally significant property like ours.”