OpEd: The Community
By Alexi Chidbachian
The Reseda that everyone knows and loves might be getting a facelift in the coming years. The Reseda Neighborhood Council is working to improve the downtown Reseda area from Lindley to Etiwanda on Sherman Way, where there are many closed businesses and vacant lots.
In the past couple of years, small individual owned businesses on Sherman Way, the barber shop, furniture stores, restaurants and mom and pop stores have closed down due to the adverse business climate and a redevelopment plan. Unfortunately the planned revitalization coincided with the recession which halted most commercial development. Since the shut down of these businesses there has been no reconstruction or new construction. The street has been lined with empty spaces, and no announcement of what may be built there.
Many renovation ideas have been discussed by the CRA, members of the Reseda Neighborhood Council (RNC), Councilman Zine’s Office and other community groups. Meetings were, and continue to be held to determine possible upcoming projects for the area. All Reseda residents are encouraged to attend these meetings.
Some in the community hope to bring in a large corporate businesses such as Best Buy, Target, Whole Foods, or other similar business to fill in the empty spaces on Sherman Way and Lindley. Having a new business like this could improve the appearance, economy, and wealth of downtown Reseda. Others hope for smaller businesses to come back and fill the empty retail district, possibly in new retail buildings.
Albert Tern, a 10 year owner of Miss. Donut on Sherman Way and Etiwanda, believes that if all the small businesses close there may be nothing that moves in to replace them.
Tern felt the other businesses closed down because their stores lacked customers. He also fears of losing his successful store due to the proposed renovation. Tern expressed that he would be happy with any redevelopment on Sherman Way as long as it brings customers and doesn’t close his shop down.
The big question that many Stakeholders want to know is when will this redevelopment occur? In 2006 the process began and up to this day, five years later, many buildings are empty. Many Reseda NC Board Members would like to have this redevelopment occur in the next five to ten years.
Once a developer begins, it might take five or more years for the surrounding businesses to benefit and flourish. Until new businesses come, there will be areas in the Reseda Business District that remain empty and quiet.
At the recent CRA community forum, 28 year resident Freada Greene brought up concerns about increased traffic and congestion with redevelopment.
Greene hopes to see more small individual owned business instead of large corporate businesses and she doesn’t see how Reseda will move forward with the current difficult financial climate.
Greene also stated that Reseda residents need to take more charge of improving the local environment to reduce opportunities that criminals could take advantage of.
Hopefully, with redevelopment, Reseda’s relatively low crime rate will decrease further and our local economy will increase. There are many factors that go into rebuilding a business district, get involved and make your voice heard. Seeing Reseda reinvigorated is what many Stakeholders are anxious about, are you?