Residents along Florence Ave. said they are excited that city officials and members of Los Angeles’ Economic Development Department are gearing up to make improvements along the corridor between Crenshaw and Western. The $40 million plan, according to organizers, will include the resurfacing of many buildings in the area as well as repair, paint, re-facing and modernization of several of the real estate structures in need of serious upgrades. Once completed, project lead, John M Culpepper, Jr. said he will also work within the corridor to help bring in a grocery store, mini clinic, beauty and barber salon, dentist and vision Dr., an elder location, drug store “and more to ensure a new beginning for many who reside and work in the area without needed resources or transportation for their well being…”
Culpepper, a minister and pastor of New St. Holy Andrews MBC, said he has a 39-year history of watching the area denigrate to unhealthy circumstances for the residents, and claims he and his parishioners just want to give back while they can.
“The best way is to help make the area safe for all concerned,” he said.
Project consultant Dr. Marcia Coppertino said she is “happy” about the new corridor. She is excited, she said, about completing the first phase which involved about 7 months of planning and “interfacing with potential investors and the cooperation of those who have signed up as volunteers, organizers and outside advisors to help spearhead the vision of Dr. Culpepper to support an area of over 50 properties which are rife with drug use, homelessness and neglect.”
They’ve already garnered the assistance of private investors, some of whom grew up in the area and want to see it improved.
Coppertino feels the revitalization is important since a sustainable community needs things like a grocery store or clinic… things the corridor residents just don’t have.
About 75 percent of the low-income residents do not own a car, so something like getting groceries becomes a challenge, she said.
When people can’t get basic needs met in a community, it creates problems.
“The county and city of Los Angeles officials can only do so much to assist corridor spaces, and that it is up to the citizens themselves to shoulder responsibility for their working and living spaces, and to help make them safe and sound,” Coppertino said.
“[Those working on the project] are poised to work hard and make sure they have the city’s blessing before moving ahead full speed.”
A website for the project is currently under construction and a groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for August.
“[The groundbreaking will be] on the first acquired property within the corridor,” Coppertino explained.
“After the groundbreaking in August, it should take about 1 to 2 years to complete the project.”
“We have about 18 residents and commercial who have said yes to building up the area. We’re just a stone’s throw from the improvements in Inglewood so we need to have this area revitalized.”
Project leaders have been communicating with residents who are concerned about gentrification. Everyone will be able to stay put, Coppertino said. Bond measures as well as city money, will help maintain the new area.
“Dr Culpepper is eagerly expecting to see old and new friends who agree that Florence avenue will be the place to celebrate as the anticipated Florence Corridor Program Project takes shape and form for our community and city of Los Angeles.”