Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council
Saturday - January 7, 2017 - 9:00 am to 2:00 pm
3341 W. 43rd Place, Los Angeles, CA 90008
Parking Available in the Vision Theatre Back Lot for $2.50 All Day
RSVP on Facebook or by Email to LeimertParkVillage@gmail.com
On Saturday, January 7 2017, we held the 3rd planning charrette of the Leimert Park Village 20/20 Vision Initiative—whose mission is to help shape the neighborhood’s future economic development around its unique cultural and artistic heritage, in a way that provides opportunity and hope for all our residents and stakeholders.
The meeting was hosted by the Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council, and opened with an abbreviated schedule of their regular monthly Town Hall Meeting, chaired by Yvonne Ellett.
Leimert Park Village
2017 20|20 Vision Initiative Charrette Summary
Leimert Park Village 20/20 Vision Initiative Committee:
Kim Ramsey, Director, Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor BID and Executive Director, Community Build, Inc.; Clint Rosemond, Co-Chair, Leimert Park Village Stakeholders; Johnnie Raines, Co-Chair, Leimert Park Village Stakeholders, Member, Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Council; James Burks, City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs; Romerol Malveaux, Leimert Park Resident, Member, City Planning Department re:code LA Committee
Implementation Thought Leaders and Work Group Leads:
Sherri Franklin, Urban Design Center; Roland A. Wiley, Raw International, Inc.; Ben Caldwell, Kaos Network; Carl Morgan and Misty Wilks, Esq. ECWANDC; Lisa Flenoury, Los Angeles Police Department; and Joyce Watts, Leimert Park resident
Sylvia Lacy, District Director, Councilman President Herb J. Wesson, District 10; David Riccitello, Economic Development Director, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, District 2; Yvonne Ellett, Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council; and Kimberly Ramsey, Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District
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Taking Care of Our Own
The first major focus of the day was the “Taking Care of Our Own” campaign to meet the needs of Leimert Park Village’s homeless community. The discussion was led by Clint Rosemond and Johnnie Raines, III, co-chairs of the Leimert Park Village Stakeholders.
Darryl Everage of the LA County Department of Mental Health spoke about how homeless outreach workers are not always equipped to deal with mental illness, and how those suffering from such issues require “engagement on a sustained basis.” Harold Turner of the National Association of Mental Illness also addressed this issue, pointing out that 30% of the homeless have a diagnosable mental illness.
City of Los Angeles District Attorney Alvin Arzou spoke of the evolving role of law enforcement in dealing with the problem, and the need to avoid “criminalizing homelessness.” The Park in particular means different things to different people, he said, and we can’t “sweep up everyone with the same broom.” Kim Ramsey of Community Build also touched on this issue. Homeless people in and around the Village often grew up in the area, and come here because they perceive it as a “safer” place to be homeless. Local officers talked about their experiences with the LAPD’s new HOPE (Homeless Outreach and Proactive Engagement) units.
Finally, Clint Rosemond offered an update about the beginning stages of a partnership with Los Angeles Trade Tech College, where an architectural and environmental design class will be spending a semester exploring options for a homeless drop-in center for the Village.
A Destination of Choice for Black Los Angeles
After lunch, James V. Burks of the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs gave a presentation about the possibility of an African-American Cultural & Convention Center in back lot behind the Vision Theatre—and beyond that, the potential of nurturing the Village as the hub of a thriving local creative economy. The Village already has a rich cultural life; but it has to learn how to “monetize” those activities more effectively. By pooling resources, coordinating on a “master calendar” of events, and looking at the Village as an “incubator” for artistic innovation, we can become “the destination of choice for Black Los Angeles.”
On a related note, Sherri Franklin of the Urban Design Center spoke about the potential of marketing cultural tours of the Village to schools and other groups. A local university class recently spent a day in the Village, and another is scheduled for a tour later in March. A Leimert Park Village Tourism Guide is in the works.
For several months last year, Ben R. Caldwell of Kaos Network and Karl Baumann of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab hosted a class on using video and AR (augmented reality) to tell the Village’s stories, and reimagine its future. All told, over thirty residents, students, artists and others participated. One of the final results was a video that previews how self-driving cars (which might be made available at the new Village Metro stop) could be equipped with augmented reality film clips that would allow visitors to literally see into the Village’s past—for example, “seeing” Billy Higgins play drums at The World Stage, just as the self-driving car is pulling up to the building.
It may sound far-out at first, Caldwell said. But this technology is moving fast, and quickly becoming affordable and accessible. It is “technology for the people,” and AR goggles could soon become “the new smart phone.” And although it is futuristic, it’s a very particular brand of Afro-futurism, about seeing economic development “through African eyes.” Fittingly, the film and overall project are titled “Sankofa City.” The Sankofa symbol depicts a bird reaching back as it moves forward, expressing the idea that we must learn from the past to build for the future.
Visions for an African-American Cultural & Convention Center
The final feature of the Charrette was the presentation of a series of proposed designs for an African-American Cultural & Convention Center on the site of the parking lot behind the Vision Theatre. As Roland Wiley of RAW International Architecture said in introducing the presentation, each year the Design Competition of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) selects a single project for their competition. And this year, they chose Leimert Park Village.
Sherri Franklin introduced the winning designs, selected from --- entries, from students in 20 universities. They ranged in style from --- to ----. Ballots were distributed allowing attendees to vote for up to 5 selections. Those designs are available at the link below, and voting will run until the next Monday meeting of the Leimert Park Village Stakeholders, May 1, 10am.
Check out the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) 2016 Student Design Competition Submittals for the Leimert Park Village African American Cultural & Convention Center proposed for the Vision Theatre back lot! There were submissions from 20 universities!
We will vote for the best design concepts during the Leimert Park Village 20|20 Vision Initiative Charrette. Click on link below.