Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Positive Step Toward a Boyle Heights' Civic Center

Ben Franklin Library Ribbon Cutting

Today was another positive step forward in my plan to create a mini-civic center for Boyle Heights. After just four months of work, we celebrated the completion of the Benjamin Franklin Branch Library Beautification Project at the Southeast corner of First and Chicago.

My main purpose for the beautification project was to tear down a large fortress-like iron fence that previously surrounded the library, which sent the wrong message to our community. Libraries need to be inviting, particularly to our young people.

The fence said: “Keep out,” and was not at all fitting with the overall improvements on the other three corners of that intersection, which include the new Hollenbeck Police Station; a beautiful pocket-park in honor of Mr. Boyle Heights, the late-great Ross Valencia, and my Boyle Heights District Office housed in the Chicago Building, which is currently being renovated.

I am working on making the Chicago Building a one-stop civic service center for Boyle Heights constituents and hope to house city departments and non-profits there, as well as my office, so people can take care of all their needs in one place.

I want to thank the CRA for today’s $175,000 library improvements, which also included landscaping plants that match those at the Hollenbeck Police Station, as well as a new concrete walk way for better public access, new library signs to better identify the library, new bike racks, more lighting improvements for safety, trees and a new irrigation system for beautification.

Click here to listen to a KPCC report on today’s event.