After months of brainstorming, Highland Park residents and business owners agreed on Wednesday on three improvement projects to be built along six blocks of York Blvd.
More than 50 community members attended the York Blvd. planning meeting at on Wednesday meeting to approve two immediate projects, which inlude the installation of antique lighting along two blocks and the construction of sidewalk porches on York between Ave. 50 and 56.
The community also put their support behind spending money to investigate the possibility of installing a public park at the location of the former gas station at the intersection of York and Ave. 50.
“This is not just a talking party,” said Steve Rasmussen-Cancian of Living Streets L.A., the organization responsible for facilitating the planning meetings. “We are going to actually build something to improve the street.”
The $100,000 improvement project is part of Councilmember Jose Huizar's long term "new York" Vision Plan.
After a two-hour meeting, community members selected for the three projects from more than 12 potential projects. During next month’s meeting the project’s design and start date will be discussed.
Pending approval from the city's planning department, Rasmussen-Cancian said Construction may start as soon as September.
Allocating funds to investigate the possibility of the park at York and 50 proved to be the most hotly contested decision of the evening. The proposal received most of the votes, but some residents said the money should be used to fund a project that is more tangible.
The vacant lot is private and was previously home to a gas station. As a result, the project could take up to four years and remediating the soil in the lot where gas tanks were once stored could cost millions, Rasmussen-Cancian said.
“The money will help launch the project,” he said. He suggested that public grants might be available to fund the rest of hte effort.
The street porches, or pocket plazas, which were also approved, would resemble mini-patios, complete with benches and tables where pedestrians could gather.
“None of the projects would cut street parking,” Rasmussen-Cancian said.
Wednesday’s meeting was the end an inclusive preliminary planning process where business owners and residents meet regularly since December to discuss both long and short-term goals for York Boulevard.