Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Bringing Back Broadway Forum at City Club

I love talking about the Bringing Back Broadway initiative. And apparently, people aren’t tired of hearing about it. The Heritage Committee of the City Club on Bunker Hill invited me to a forum about the revitalization effort. Joining me for the panel discussion were Michael Buhler, director of advocacy for the L.A. Conservancy, Tara Jones, director of National Preservation Partners, Lillian Burkenheim, project manager for the Community Redevelopment Agency, and Ed Kelsey, board member with the League of Historic American Theatres.

We discussed the importance of the historic Broadway corridor to our City as a whole, past efforts to revitalize Broadway, and what the future holds with Bringing Back Broadway. Discussions like this reinforce my belief that Broadway should once again serve as a hub for multicultural entertainment. The historic theatres are the anchors, but with a million square feet of vacant commercial space in upper floors, all of Broadway is poised for a comeback. One of the topics of greatest interest was the streetcar. We had it right 40 years ago when streetcars ran everywhere. I look forward to the inaugural ride when a streetcar once again connects Broadway to the rest of downtown.

Photo courtesy of Gary Leonard. Panelists pictured left to right: Mike Buhler, Director of Advocacy, Los Angeles Conservancy; Marilyn F. Solomon, Chair, Board of Governors, City Club on Bunker Hill; Councilmember Jose' Huizar; Lillian Burkenheim, Project Manager, Community Redevelopment Agency; Jessica Wethington McLean, Executive Director, Bringing Back Broadway; Tara Jones, Director, National Preservation Partners; Ed Kelsey, Board Member, League of Historic American Theatres and General Manager, Orpheum Theatre.