In another unprecedented step today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors awarded a two-year contract for $646,462 to Del Richardson & Associates, Inc. (DRA) to operate Metro’s pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) to help small businesses impacted by Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project construction. The contract includes two one-year options for $349,682 for total of $996,144.
“We’re finally making desperately needed investments to our public transportation system in South Los Angeles, but construction simply cannot come at the expense of our businesses,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “This Business Solution Center will ensure that businesses along the Crenshaw Line will be able to thrive despite any temporary inconveniences to customers and employees.”
“Rail construction is always challenging and it’s particularly difficult for nearby businesses, that’s why we are committed to standing with these merchants during the whole construction process,” said Metro Board 1st Vice Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This Business Solution Center – while not solving all problems – is an important first step toward helping the local business community survive and thrive during the difficult days. We are happy that we could make this happen.”
The Business Solution Center is expected to open in November, 2014 and will be located at the Los Angeles Urban League, 3450 Mount Vernon Drive, Los Angeles, CA 90008.
The Metro pilot Business Solution Center (BSC) will provide hands-on case management services for small businesses along the Crenshaw corridor between 48th and 60th streets.
Services will include marketing help, business plan development, financial planning, small business operations advice and legal assistance counseling. In addition, BSC will help small businesses apply for capital via existing loan programs. It also will help them gain certification as small, disadvantaged, disabled, veteran-owned, minority-owned and/or woman-owned businesses.
In September, the Metro Board also directed staff to establish a pilot business interruption fund to help mom and pop businesses located along the Crenshaw/LAX Project, the Little Tokyo area along the Regional Connector Corridor, and Phase 1 of the Purple Line Extension. Metro staff is working to develop the new pilot program.
Also, at the 9th Annual Taste of Soul festival Metro kicked off its Eat, Shop, Play Crenshaw campaign. So far more than 1,000 people have pledged to buy local and visit area businesses. More than 40 merchants impacted by rail construction were showcased in the Metro sponsored pavilion.
These board action designed to help businesses impacted by the construction of the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project were championed by Metro Board members Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker and Supervisor Gloria Molina in addition to Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti Mark Ridley-Thomas and they help secure approval by the full Metro Board.
Metro also is continuing spotlight businesses impacted by Metro Rail construction through a series of individual marketing videos.
DRA was founded in 1998 and is located in Inglewood. The company provides real estate and personal property acquisition, relocation and community engagement assistance service to the public, profit and nonprofit agencies.
Metro will fund the four-year pilot program with Proposition A sale tax dollars.
The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $2.058 billion light-rail line that will connect the Green Line and the Expo Line. It will have eight new stations. It is expected to open in 2019.
For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project go to metro.net/Crenshaw or join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/crenshawrail.