Second Time is Not a Charm: Community Still Vociferously Opposed to Plans for Lorena Plaza in Boyle Heights
What had ever happened to the plans to turn the space on the corner of Lorena and 1st St. into a fitness parklet?
Many of those gathered this past Wednesday evening at the second informational meeting regarding the plans for the site were still feeling burned by the promise they believed Metro had reneged on to put a park there.
At another meeting on the subject back in December of 2012, Metro had essentially told the community it had chosen a mixed-use development project because it was working toward enhancing transit quality and was not in the business of building parks. Last week’s informational meeting on the plans for the site had only reaffirmed that the park plans were out of the question.
Still, it wasn’t a dream people were willing to give up on just yet.
A mini fitness park would have been a wonderful addition to the jogging path that runs around the (not so) Evergreen cemetery across the street, lamented Rita Govea Rodriguez, a long-time Boyle Heights community stakeholder. Citing other examples of well-used fitness zones from around the city, she said it was something that her community would really have benefited from.
We were discussing the progress of A Community of Friends’ (ACOF) plans to build a four-story building containing 49 affordable housing units — half of which would be reserved for people with special needs (e.g. the homeless or mentally ill) — and approximately 7000 sq. ft. of retail space at the Lorena site.
The $23.1 million project cleared its last hurdle last March, when the Metro Board voted 10 – 1 to begin negotiations with ACOF regarding the development.
Jose Huizar, Councilmember for the 14th District and (now a former) Metro Board member, was the lone dissenting vote at the time. He was concerned that the drastic reduction in retail and parking space from the original 2006 proposal would heavily curtail the boost in economic activity the project was expected to have generated in the surrounding areas. Read more…