The Leimert Park Village 20/20 Vision Initiative, an alliance of business owners, residents, artists and other stakeholders, held its third planning charrette on Saturday, January 7, inside the Vision Theatre.  The purpose of the half-day planning session was to discuss a range of issues, challenges and opportunities facing Leimert Park Village.

The Empowerment Congress West Area (ECWA) Neighborhood Development Council Town Hall Meeting took place during the charrette.  Established in 2002, ECWA is one of 96 certified neighborhood councils in the City of Los Angeles created to facilitate discussion about public policy at the community level.  Leimert Park is one of several communities served by ECWA.

“Taking Care of Our Own,” an in depth discussion about the homeless in Leimert Park, immediately followed the ECWA Town Hall meeting.  Roland Wiley, principal partner at RAW International Architecture gave the opening prayer followed by introductions from Leimert Park Village Stakeholders co-chairs Clint Rosemond and Johnnie Raines, III.

Presentations were made by Darryl Everage, Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; Harold Turner, National Alliance of Mental Illness  Urban Los Angeles (NAMI Urban LA); Kimberly Ramsey, Community Build Interim President representing the Greater Leimert Park Village Crenshaw Corridor Business Improvement District (GLPVCC BID); the Los Angeles Police Department Homeless Outreach Partnership Endeavor (LAPD HOPE); and the Los Angeles Trade Tech Architectural and Environmental Design School for the Leimert Park Village Resource Center Concept.

Each presenter spoke about the challenge of homelessness and the efforts their organizations are making to address the issue.  Kim Ramsey outlined the efforts of the Los Angeles Housing Services Authority (LAHSA) Homeless Emergency Outreach Team assigned to  Leimert Park.  Two LAHSA outreach workers visit Leimert Park  and  surrounding areas each weekday to assist and follow-up with individuals seeking city services, such as obtaining identification and registering for temporary and permanent  housing.  Audience members also spoke about their experiences with the homeless and its effect on the community.  A homeless individual from Leimert Park also spoke on the difficulties of chronic homelessness and her need for assistance and hopes for the outcome from these types of discussions.

After lunch, Sherri Franklin, Urban Design Center; Carl Morgan, ECWA Neighborhood Development Council Center board member; and Roland Wiley introduced the finalists from the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Design Competition.

Leimert Park was selected as the location for NOMA’s 2016 Barbara G. Laurie Annual Student Design Competition. The competition challenged student teams  from around the country to design the African American Cultural Museum and Community Center along Leimert Park Boulevard.  Charrette attendees were asked to vote for their top picks from the NOMA student designs.  Visit the 2017 20/20 Vision Initiative Charette page at  www.leimertparkvillage.org to view the student designs.

The charrette concluded with “Programming People Street- Sankofa City” presented by Ben Caldwell, owner of Kaos Network and GLPVCC BID Advisory Board member.  In conjunction with the University of Southern California (USC) School of Communications Innovation Lab, Caldwell demonstrated a look into the future, getting a virtual tour of Leimert Park, riding in self-driving vehicles and wearing augmented reality glasses. To get a summary of the virtual tour and other USC/Kaos Network collaborations, visit https://challenge.la2050.org/entry/sankofa-city.