Improving the Community

The more than $1.5 billion that has been recently invested into the Figueroa Corridor wouldn’t be meaningful if it wasn’t improving the lives of visitors and community members. At the Partnership’s 2005 annual meeting, several board directors stood up and gave moving accounts of how the real estate developments, improved streetscapes, and the work of the safety ambassadors and clean team have personally affected the lives of the those in the community. Here are some of their accounts:

“When you think about how the improvements in the Figueroa Corridor have affected the lives of community members, you have to go back to before 1998 when the BID hadn’t yet started and remember the graffiti and gang activity and the homeless people sleeping and defecating on storefronts, and how area businesses and institutions were facing economic decline and considering leaving the area altogether. Now, not only is the area a great place to work and visit, it’s also a safe place for children to come to school and to visit for field trips. Young college kids want to live here, and local residents have more job opportunities.”
--Darryl Holter, Chair, Figueroa Corridor Partnership; Chief Administrative Officer, The Shammas Group

“An additional 700 neighborhood families have been able to take advantage of the world-class education, culture, recreation, and entertainment institutions in Exposition Park through the addition of the Theodore Alexander Science Center Elementary School, which opened in September 2004. This new facility is an integral component of the park’s award-winning master plan and further demonstrates the economic development that is transforming the southern ‘anchor’ of the Figueroa Corridor.”
--Jon Gibby, Park Manager, Exposition Park

“The fact we have less trash around the church and the whole neighborhood has really improved the image of the area. I had a visitor from Miami over the weekend, and he was impressed that the area is much cleaner than it was five years ago, and that it is also friendlier, with more people walking around. We have a lot of people coming from other cities and states because the church and its gardens are so beautiful, and more people come here now because they feel more comfortable walking around.”
--Father Antonio Ruiz, St. Vincent de Paul Church

“The Figueroa Corridor BID has created a stable group of stakeholders that has brought a consistent prospective to development in both the commercial and residential corridors. The stakeholders have sent a clear message to developers that there is a scope, direction, and short and long term goals for the Figueroa Corridor.”
--Bernard C. Parks, Councilmember, 8th Council District, City of Los Angeles

“The dramatic improvements in the Figueroa Corridor that have taken place since the BID started have greatly helped Exposition Park and its surrounding community. EPICC’s membership is now at around 20,000. The California Science Center's ‘Body Worlds’ exhibit had to turn people away, even when it was open its last weekend for 48 hours straight. The Coliseum is actively pursuing an NFL team, and the League is impressed with the upgrading of the area. This type of news is in sharp contrast to where the neighborhood was 10 years ago.”
--Margaret Farnum, Chief Administrative Officer, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission

“The BID has not only helped Orthopaedic Hospital, but also its neighbor, the Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School. The school's principal, Mr. Anthony Sandoval, reports that parents are constantly thanking him for providing a safe environment for their children to learn. The students feel safe outside and inside the school's property. Much of the credit goes to the work of the Figueroa Corridor BID.”
--Mary Schmitz, R.N., Ph.D., President, Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital Foundation

“What has already been done by the Figueroa Corridor Partnership as a BID, and by many of its members independently, has been catalytic. The street improvements on Figueroa began its transformation as a ‘place’ rather than only a transportation channel. Additional improvements to increase the number of pedestrian crossings will create a much more active ‘two-sided’ street. The USC Arena will be a new major destination on Figueroa and significantly change the street’s meaning, and the proposed mixed-use project across from it may begin to create a community focus from which further development will likely occur.”
--Robert S. Harris, Professor of Architecture and Coordinator, Urban Neighborhood Studies Program, University of Southern California

“When the idea of a BID was first considered in the mid-nineties, the Natural History Museum had been suffering through a period of declining attendance. Combined with the investment of many BID members, the work of the BID itself has resulted in our community becoming known as a better place visit, live, and work. This is a key part of the Museum’s own success story of increased attendance and more recognition of its important mission since the BID was formed. …The proof of the BID's value is that property owners just outside the district asked how they could join and be charged. When people are actually asking to pay you for something, you know you're doing a good job.”
--Jim Gilson, Vice President and General Counsel, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

“Over the years, the Clinic has had a number of opportunities to expand further west in the city, however, the board of directors has consistently maintained its strong commitment to stay in this community and serve the children and families that reside here. This commitment is seen through our financial investments, in particular, the purchase and development of two properties on Vermont Avenue. One site houses our Child and Youth Development Center, which has allowed us to serve 2,000 additional children and families per year since its doors opened in 2002; and the other is our flagship service center, serving the community since 1994. We are delighted to be part of the Figueroa Corridor community and to have one service site directly across from Exposition Park, which has transitioned into a safe and healthy haven for the children and families of our community.”
--Betsy Pfromm, Executive Director, L.A. Child Guidance Clinic

“Perhaps we are most assured we are serving the Figueroa Corridor when we hear so many of our more senior visitors express an appreciation for the improvements in CAAM, in our neighbor museums, in Exposition Park, and in the overall revival of the surrounding community. When they aren't speaking we know they feel welcome through their many return visits, from their support letters, and most importantly when they share the wonders of their experiences with their friends and colleagues. Exposition Park has never looked better. …Employees have come to rely upon the many improvements to the Figueroa Corridor that service our business needs during the course of the day, and our patrons feel welcome and safe as they enjoy are events in the evening.”
--Charmaine Jefferson, Executive Director, California African American Museum

“Lovelace Avenue, the cul-de-sac south of Washington Blvd., used to have tons of trash and graffiti. But then something obviously changed because, all of a sudden, it was gone. And now I find out, it was the BID!”
--Lew Miller, property owner

Figueroa Corridor Partnership : 3982 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 207 Los Angeles, CA 90037 Phone: (213) 746-9577 Fax: (213) 746-7876
Service Hotline: (213) 746-3444