Blumenfield, Mayor Garcetti and Rec and Parks announce major milestone to bring a new year-round ice facility to the West Valley
LOS ANGELES –Yesterday Councilmember Bob Blumenfield and the Department of Recreation and Parks entered escrow to purchase two key parcels from the former Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) on Sherman Way for a new community ice rink in the West Valley. With the City exercising the option to buy the land from the former CRA, it paves the way for the final steps to build the City's first ever year-round ice skating/hockey rink.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way and I am proud to announce that we are at the cusp of bringing a new ice rink facility to the West Valley,” said Blumenfield. “This agreement between the former CRA and the City lets us move forward, bring on new partners, and build a facility that will be a cool, fun and active destination for the entire region.”
The project is a central piece of Blumenfield's “Reseda Rising” vision for Sherman Way. This unique recreational facility will be built on the formerly blighted parcels the City is now acquiring. The “Reseda Town Center” is envisioned to be developed as a public-private partnership. These two parcels languished under the ownership of the former CRA and have attracted blight and nuisances to the area.
"We’ve taken a major step forward to ensure that generations of Angelenos have an opportunity to play winter sports year round in sunny Southern California," said Mayor Eric Garcetti. "I want to thank Councilmember Bob Blumenfield for his years of hard work and leadership in pulling together the team, funds, and vison for Reseda and the ice rink. This ice rink is an example of what can be accomplished when a wide array of City officials, agencies and outside partners work hand in hand towards a common goal."
“As ice rinks throughout Los Angeles close their doors or become privitized, the Department of Recreation and Parks is proudly helping ensure thousands of local, community kids have access to City-owned, first-class facilities right in their community,” said General Manager Mike Shull. “Councilmember Bob Blumenfield's foresight and leadership leveraged resources to build partnerships and overcome obstacles to make this project possible.”
While thinking about how to best serve the community, and turning over every rock to find the resources to do it, Councilmember Blumenfield found voter approved Proposition K funds that were put aside in the 1990’s specifically for an ice rink. However, the funds were not enough to build a first class rink. Consequently, Blumenfield sought out and partnered with the Los Angeles Kings on potential plans for the facility. This will leverage the Prop K funds and create a true destination location for all Angelenos.
At multiple community meetings to gather input from the surrounding neighbors and greater Reseda area, Blumenfield presented renderings and concepts for Reseda Town Center in line with these opportunities. At present, the vision for Sherman Way will eventually add retail at the street level, a new Laemmle theatre, residential apartments – which are sorely needed in Los Angeles and will restore Reseda’s place as an entertainment destination. What were derelict buildings, and are now vacant lots, one day could become quality retail for the community, apartments for residents, and a family-friendly attraction bringing people to Sherman Way.
Blumenfield has been trying to get these specific properties to be productively used for redevelopment since 2009. They were owned by the CRA and slated for redevelopment. However, after the California legislature passed needed reforms of the CRA, which were authored by then-Assemblymember Blumenfield, the CRA agencies sued the State to undo the reforms. The lawsuit was a foolish gamble and resulted in the courts invalidating Blumenfield’s reform bill which led to the elimination of the CRA and set these properties on a course to be sold off. However, Blumenfield authored AB 1484, which gave successor agencies, like the City of Los Angeles, the power to put together a development deal for certain properties that were identified as having important public use. Without this action, the parcels would have been sold to the highest bidder for development without consideration of the public good or community vision. The CRA wind down bill was authored with these properties in mind.
Then, when Blumenfield was elected to the City Council in 2013, he pushed the City to identify these parcels along with a few others in Los Angeles as having this important use. The wind down bill however set a time clock in motion that gave the City 5 years to put together an acquisition plan for these selected parcels. Blumenfield has been working on this plan in anticipation of the impending deadline of March of 2018. The acquisition is part of his “Reseda Rising” initiative and will cost $6.8 million.
The planning, permitting, design and construction of these properties must follow a strict timetable to ensure the City retains control of the sites to pursue the community’s vision for entertainment and quality construction.