Inactive city services in Boyle Heights was a general theme in a recent Boyle Heights business assessment study. Business owners described roads and sidewalks having been in disarray, and trash is regularly dumped on the street.
But the researches most surprising find was the disconnect between the Los Angeles Police Department and Boyle Heights businesses.
“While it’s worked good with community policing, (the police department) has done less a good job of reaching out to businesses,” said Roberto Barragan, president of Valley Economic Development Center.
In the preliminary report, researches found that local gangs were extorting money from businesses in multiple corridors. When VEDC researchers told Cpt. Anita Ortega at the Hollenbeck Police Department that businesses paid protection money to gangs, Barragan said she denied such a claim.
In April, the Valley Economic Development Center will open a branch at the Boyle Hotel to act as a mediator for people looking for access to alternative capital and follow up the work from the business assessment.
The study was able to get up to 40 percent of the businesses it surveyed to participate. Many of the main corridors like Cesar Chavez Avenue, First Street, and Whittier Boulevard were included in the study, while Eighth Street was excluded. JPMorgan Chase & Co. funded the survey and decided which corridors to look at.
Here is a list of other findings in the study:
1) Lack of city services
2) Sidewalk repair, street repair is needed.
3) Inadequate parking in multiple corridors
4) 40% lot vacancy on Olympic Boulevard
While the report recommended some corridors add more parking, that the proposed solutions were compiled by the current business owners. Traffic and parking studies need to be done in order to formulate more accurate soltuions, Barragan added.