July 25th – Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro) Board unanimously voted to approve $15 million in funding to support construction for Destination Crenshaw, a living outdoor people’s museum designed with the South Los Angeles community to promote community serving economic development, combat gentrification and cultural erasure while preserving and showcasing the legacy of Black Los Angeles. The Destination Crenshaw project will enhance Metro-owned properties along the Crenshaw corridor, utilizing these spaces to preserve and showcase the history of the neighborhood. Rather than receiving modest improvements as part of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX transit project, Destination Crenshaw proposes enhancing these properties into park and cultural nodes that ensures economic vitality for current and future residents.
Destination Crenshaw is part of Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project (C/LAX), a new 8.5-mile light rail line currently under construction between the existing Metro Expo Line at Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards in Los Angeles and LAX. C/LAX is one of 12 transit projects funded by Measure R, with a projected opening in 2020. A total of $2.058 billion in funds have been allocated for the C/LAX project and today’s vote secures $15 million to support construction of Sankofa Park, just south of Leimert Park, which is anticipated to be the largest of ten platforms and pocket parks included in the Destination Crenshaw project.
Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and community stakeholders including Berlinda Fontenot Jamerson, President of the Museum of African American Art in the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza, Quintin Primo, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of Capri Capital Partners and Adam Ayala, Founding Director of Smile South Central took the podium to announce their support of the project while dozens more sat in the audience wearing blue t-shirts which read Destination Crenshaw. Additionally, LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and Los Angeles Mayor, Eric Garcetti shared their support of the initiative.
“Destination Crenshaw is an opportunity to reimagine what development looks like in our communities”, said LA City Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson. “From the art and design to the intention behind the community outreach and hiring process, this project will help transform a community. Destination Crenshaw is a testament to Metro’s commitment to community driven efforts and what can be accomplished through true public private partnerships. We hope that Destination Crenshaw will inspire more projects that support the cultural heritage and economic vitality of neighborhoods typically negatively affected by investments in transportation.”
“With Destination Crenshaw, Metro can be a partner in building an iconic transit-oriented community that celebrates South LA’s rich cultural heritage,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas said. “It’s a strategic investment that shows Metro is not only intent on improving mobility, boosting transit ridership, and spurring the local economy, but also about reinvigorating the communities it serves.”
Sankofa Park – a 49,000 square foot outdoor space walking distance from the new Leimert Park station – was conceived as an amphitheater for performances, festivals, and community gatherings. The gathering space and pedestrian-friendly enhancements further Metro’s goal of transit-supportive projects that help make streets safer for active modes of transportation and encourage more healthy activities such as walking and biking.