Lead Story West Edition

Councilman predicts downtown growth for Inglewood

INGLEWOOD — The centerpiece of the city’s revitalization efforts is going to take place in the downtown area, residents were told during a town hall meeting March 15 at the Miracle Theatre.

Market Street, with its many storefront businesses, is expected to be ground zero for that revitalization, according to Christopher E. Jackson, the city’s economic and community development director, who assisted District 1 City Councilman George Dotson in making a video presentation to residents on development in the area.

For the first 30 minutes of the meeting, before fielding questions from attendees, Dotson and Jackson outlined what was taking place in and around Market Street. One of the things that Jackson pointed out was that the parking alignment will soon be a thing of the past.

The parking meters as residents, business owners and tourists have come to see, will be permanently omitted. An erected parking structure that would eliminate the need for meters is the way of the future, Jackson said.

Customers and tourists used to pulling up in front of a business will have to adjust to parking in a centralized location and walking to their destinations, something similar to the experience people get when they visit the Santa Monica Promenade or The Grove.

Jackson said that’s a new reality for folks in Inglewood.

“Merchants on Market Street are accustomed to customers pulling right up in front of their stores. … That’s not going to be the case,” Jackson said. “Folks are going to have to do things differently. … The reality is, you go to the parking structure, you get out of the car, you walk where you need to go and you enjoy the atmosphere that you have.”

Jackson listed other things the neighborhood could expect, including an influx of tourists looking to wine and dine in Inglewood.

“We can’t get enough about how many visitors will be exploring Inglewood, not just on game day, but every night and weekends,” Jackson said. “We see the downtown area as the hub. I know there will be a lot of activities going on at Hollywood Park and the adjourning areas , but you better believe that people are looking for intimate locations that they can come and spend their time and enjoy what Inglewood has to offer.”

With the construction of the Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park and the new rail system coming soon, Inglewood is going through a transformation.

The city’s project pipeline has already seen the completion of a new senior center and Planet Fitness workout center. The city expects to see the opening of a new IHOP on Century Boulevard and La Brea Avenue later this year. Then there is the affordable housing complex for senior citizens (PATH Villas) and the Daniel Freeman development site where townhomes are being built that add on the rush to modernize Inglewood.

The newness and buzz hovering over the city is filled with both excitement and consternation. Many see the revitalization as necessary and good. To others, however, the changes mean that those who have lived, gotten an education and worked in this urban melting pot may be squeezed out of their longtime sanctuary because of rent increases, eminent domain or perceived gentrification.

The Los Angeles Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park will see a football stadium that will be home to both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers opening in 2020. It is part of a larger project that includes residential and commercial uses that is planned where the old Hollywood Park Racetrack once stood.

Another parcel of land in that vicinity could become the new home of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Dotson called the March 15 meeting to inform his constituents what is in store for his district.

The new Inglewood Senior Center is one of those projects he pointed out.

Another is the Hilton TRU Hotel, which will be built at Prairie Avenue and 111th Street.

Just two more signs of growth for the city of Inglewood.