LOS ANGELES, CA – On March 26, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to fund four key projects of Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in the communities of Reseda and Canoga Park. These projects are an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park, streetscape enhancements on Sherman Way in Reseda, improving the Madrid Theater as part of the Canoga Park Arts Hub, and a new traffic signal. All are funded with Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) excess bond funds, funds he helped secure and which Blumenfield has been using to successfully grow economic opportunities in parts of the West Valley that have struggled to attract and sustain robust commercial activity.
“For over a decade, I have worked with residents, business owners and community organizations on ways to help the West Valley become an engine for economic growth and a destination for commerce, art and culture,” said Blumenfield. “These projects are critical to achieving that goal in Canoga Park and Reseda.
The Council specifically approved four motions which include:
- $4.65 million for an expansion of the Aliso Creek Confluence Park. Opened in 2016, the park was developed in collaboration with the Trust for Public Land, community partners, stakeholders, various City Departments, the Reseda Neighborhood Council, and local residents. Blumenfield supported the project early on as an Assemblymember who helped get State Prop 84 monies and then as a Councilmember who secured City dollars. The new funds will create two new walking paths along the north side of the LA River between Reseda Boulevard and Wilbur Avenue, a new pedestrian bridge across Aliso Creek to better connect the park to surrounding greenways, and various elements to capture stormwater to replenish our local groundwater and limit urban runoff into the River channel. Learn more here.
- $2.5 million for Blumenfield’s Sherman Way Great Streets project. The stretch of Sherman Way between Lindley and Wilbur Avenues comprises Reseda’s central business district, and these funds will be used for streetscape improvements based upon designs developed in 2016 through a robust community planning process. The project will add a new pedestrian crossing, trees, landscaping, “Reseda” monument signs, shade structures, seating, wayfinding signage, and bike racks. Additionally, it will install traffic-calming measures on Hart Street between the Aliso Creek Bridge and Lindley to make the street more bicycle-friendly. These place-making enhancements will support the area's numerous small businesses, and attract new development and investment in the area. They will also make it safer and more convenient to reach and navigate downtown Reseda while using transit, walking and bicycling. These streetscape improvements also leverage investment in other projects on Sherman Way supported with CRA excess bond proceeds, including renovations to the Reseda Theater and a new skating rink being developed in a partnership between the City and the L.A. Kings.
- $3 million to dramatically improve the Madrid Theater, the anchor of Blumenfield’s growing Canoga Park Arts Hub. Located in the heart of Canoga Park, the Madrid Theatre is a 440-seat professional-level performing arts facility recognized as the West Valley's premier performance venue. These funds will further help rehabilitate the venue and further assist it to become a catalytic economic engine.
- $350 thousand for to install a new, and much needed traffic signal at Victory Blvd. and Vanalden Ave with high-visibility crosswalks. This safety improvement will improve connections between the adjacent LA River Bike Path, the Orange Line Bike Path and neighborhood schools.
The passage of these motions adds to Blumenfield’s successful record of bringing much needed economic and recreational activity to the West Valley. In 2013, Blumenfield launched “Reseda Rising” to reinvest in the community and enhance Reseda as a center for entertainment and small business.
As a City Councilmember Blumenfield successfully helped position the City to take advantage of the Bill he authored as an Assemblymember (AB1484) to help manage the wind down of the CRA. This bill created an opportunity for cities to utilize ‘excess CRA bond revenues’ and certain CRA lands. The process enabled Blumenfield to utilize more than $20 million to promote economic development and create community-serving infrastructure projects as well as to arrange for the strategic use of some former CRA properties.
Blumenfield recently secured a deal between the LA Kings and the City of Los Angeles to build the City’s first year round public Ice Skating Facility on Sherman Way. Another highlight of his initiative is solidifying a deal with Laemmle Theaters and Thomas Safran and Associates to convert the old Reseda Theater into a new multiplex as well as build senior affordable housing in a neighboring parcel. These are funds that can only be used for community revitalization efforts and cannot be utilized for issues such as public safety or homelessness. Both projects utilize former CRA property.
Meanwhile, in Canoga Park, in addition to improving the Madrid Theater, Blumenfield recently secured funding for the City to purchase the nearby West Valley Playhouse property as another component of the Arts Hub. The theater will now be operated by the City’s Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and be available to various community theater and performance groups from throughout the region, including the West Valley Playhouse Company.