INGLEWOOD — There was an abundance of good things for Mayor James T. Butts to talk about at his fifth State of the City Address April 23 at the Forum.
Butts announced that the pre-construction phase of the proposed National Football League stadium and surrounding residential and retail development is the next big frontier in his administration’s journey to return Inglewood’s community, families and businesses to prosperity.
The State of the City address attracted hundreds of residents and several major media outlets.
“I thought this was an amazing event; very informative,” said Brett Roberts, 30. “I am very excited for the city of Inglewood and everything they have coming down the pipeline. I am looking forward to what’s in the future.”
During his speech, Butts announced major development projects that will start this year, specifically, public safety infrastructure renewal and a long awaited makeover on Century Boulevard.
He was guarded in providing details about the proposed stadium, talking about the NFL relocation process and noting that the city will break ground on the stadium in December. At least, 30 percent of the stadium jobs will go to Inglewood residents, he said.
“I think that the new stadium that’s proposed provides opportunity for workers to receive fair wage and the union’s representation,” said Amos Young, 28. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to ensure the economic vitality of the Inglewood community as a whole. I want to see the unions represent workers in a contract that provides for a livable wage.”
Instead of the usual State of the City speech, Butts tried a different approach this year, answering questions from KNBC-TV sports anchor Fred Roggin.
Jim Hill, the sports anchor at KCBS-TV, served as master of ceremonies.
Butts’ talk also included a graphical presentation by HKS Architectural of the stadium, showing sleek arches, a state-of-the-art roofing system, office facilities and a three-park interconnection with a large lake park as a centerpiece for family hangouts and engagement.
An architect called the stadium, “the next evolution of sport.” The plans are to open the stadium in December 2018 with ground breaking this December. Also included as part of the Hollywood Park Tomorrow project is a performance venue suitable for red-carpet events.
“Currently, The Forum has been the anchor for economic revitalization for the city of Inglewood,” Butts said. “For that, we thank MSG and Live Nation.
“I am especially proud that Inglewood home values have gone up 51.4 percent for the 2012-2015 timeframes. I can say without fear of contradiction, no other city in the country can say that at this point.
“I want everybody to remember this, ‘we are as good as anybody and better than most,’” Butts added.
After dining on a buffet-style luncheon that featured gourmet chicken, rice, salads, desserts and drinks, most of those in attendance were pleased with what they heard from Butts.
“I am an employee of the city of Inglewood,” said Joshwell Howe, 39. “I am just so impressed with how far the city has come. I’m so glad to be a part of it. It was amazing to see everything in the presentation today. I am definitely excited about the stadium. I am thrilled with the Forum’s success. This was just a great, great event,”
“The ideas and what’s about to come are absolutely marvelous,” said Arra Carajergen, 45. I’m impressed with all the work that has already been done,”
“The city has revised itself,” said Victoria Newman. “Inglewood has been revitalized and now we are resurrected. It’s like the television show, ‘The Jeffersons.’ ‘We’re moving on up.”
From every corner of the room, support and positive statements were being made about Butts’ plans and vision for Inglewood’s future.
“This event today was outstanding,” said Bishop Johnny Young, senior pastor of the Miracle Temple and the senior bishop of Churches of God Pentecostal. “I support the renovation and revitalization of Inglewood. The NFL stadium coming here is just a shot in the arm for great success and we are looking forward to seeing all of this coming.” “Basically what is happening in Inglewood is amazing,” said City Councilman Eloy Morales. “We’ve come a long way as a city. There has been a lot of hard work put together by a lot of people.
“But the fact that the city has taken steps over the last few years to get ourselves in a position to take advantage of an opportunity for the residents here, it is amazing. Today is just a celebration of when we started to make those decisions two or three years ago. So, for us to have this moment is good for the residents of Inglewood. It shows promise in our future; we are just continuing to grow.”
“I think it was great,” said Ettar Green, 67. “I’ve been in Inglewood for 40 years. I am just so happy to see the improvements and that the future is finally here. I can’t wait for everything to happen.”
“I thought this was a great event,” said Mark Mango. “Things have been on the horizon here in Inglewood for such a long time. It is great to see these things starting to come to fruition. It’s wonderful to come back into the great Forum, a nice venue and a great place.”