NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--Residents in the area bordered by Hauser on the west, West Blvd. on the east, Washington on the North, and the 10 Freeway on the south have had a dream come true. They have successfully secured the name Mid-City Heights for their community.
The effort started in 2015 when neighbors got together to address concerns about the need to revitalize their community. From Jeff Copeland, a local activist who has lived in the community for over 12 years: “Wellington Square, LaFayette Square, and Oxford Square all have identities, but we didn't have a name at all. By naming our area, we felt it would help unify our neighbors, instill a sense of pride, and get us on the city's radar for more services, like tree trimming and sidewalk repair."
In particular, they wanted to address their lackluster northern border, Washington Boulevard, which they felt had great potential to become a walking destination of shops and coffee places. Some of their real estate agent members made the point that a community name helps attract upscale buyers, which might lead to greater community demands and actions that can reshape a community for the better.
So the newly formed neighborhood group called themselves the Mid-City Heights Coalition, rolled up their sleeves, and started a door-to-door campaign, gathering signatures and answering questions. Jeff said, “Going door to door and asking for signatures was an arduous process. But it was a great opportunity to meet all the wonderful people who live here. Some of these folks have lived here 50 years, and it was so nice to meet them and see them get excited about getting a community name."
Roxana Brusso, one of the original organizers, said they were able to gather over 540 signatures and the people they talked to were very enthusiastic, especially when they heard it wasn’t going to cost them anything but their support.
After the gathered signatures were collected, the arduous city process of approval began, which included finding out if the area hadn’t already been given a name in the distant past. It hadn’t. The effort sailed through various City Hall agencies, a City Hall motion, and a recent Mid-City Neighborhood Council vote. On July 19th, they heard their project had met final approvals, and as we speak signs are being made, maps are being amended, and neighbors are celebrating.
This has not been the only activity for the Coalition which have started a project to create a canopy of trees along their streets. With the help of local activist landscaper Brent Green, the planting has begun along Longwood and West View. They are also getting ready to attack the issue of overflowing garbage containers and weed-strewn street dividers along Washington Boulevard. Stay Tuned!
(Dianne Lawrence is the editor and publisher of The Neighborhood News … where this report was first posted.)