At last: hope for NE Valley $62 million waiting to give fresh start to blighted area

first_imgThe communities are also home to more than 2,800 businesses that employ nearly 29,000 workers. But business leaders say boosting employment is key to the success of the program, with upgrades to the area sidewalks and surface streets critical to luring new businesses to the area. “The one concern we would have would be the loss of any more industrial land,” Scott said. “We recognize people need a place to live, but they also need a place to work.” Roberto Barragan of the Valley Economic Development Corp. echoed Scott’s views. “We all know about the housing problems of the city, but we need the industrial space if we are going to create the jobs we need for this area and for the city,” Barragan said. “It is a tough balancing act, but I think it can be done. We have a vibrant business community now. Pacoima alone has 2,000 businesses. What we have to do is develop on top of what we have now.” Alarc n said he shares those concerns and will be working with the various business organizations to develop the plans, but he said he also recognizes the need to address the city’s shortage of affordable housing. He also said he already has begun discussions with major companies – including Magic Johnson Theaters, Lowe’s and Home Depot – about ways to draw them into the area. “What we want to do is have a master plan so investors know they are not just investing in one property, but an entire area,” Alarc n said. [email protected] (213) 978-0390 Pacoima/Panorama City profile Population: 118,040 Households: 27,620 Businesses: 2,816 Employees: 28,728 Top occupations: service, retail, manufacturing, wholesale160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Reviewing the region over the next month, the CRA will look for opportunities to spur industry, create jobs and integrate mixed-use development with pedestrian-friendly commercial zones. In planning the improvements, officials hope to take advantage of the transportation corridors – Victory Boulevard and the San Diego and Foothill freeways – that border the area. “This is an area where everyone is anxious to see some good development,” said Bob Scott, chairman of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association. “It is an area that is vastly underused now and is ripe for the right kind of development. “We think it is an area that can become a major jobs-creation area by learning the lessons of Santa Clarita and Burbank in developing a business-park concept.” The Pacoima and Panorama City areas have more than 118,000 residents living in 27,620 households, according to information provided by the CRA, which based its estimates on 2005 Census Bureau figures. About 25 percent of the households in the predominantly Latino communities live below the federal poverty level. After decades of neglect, the northeast San Fernando Valley will become the focus of a multimillion-dollar revitalization effort designed to lure jobs and spur development in the blighted communities. Councilman Richard Alarc n won approval Wednesday for the Community Redevelopment Agency to develop what he calls a vision statement for the 2,900-acre area in the Northeast Valley, where more than $62million is available for improvements. “The time has come for the northeast San Fernando Valley to have a coherent and community-driven plan for its future,” Alarc n said. “Pacoima, Sun Valley, Sylmar and Panorama City are some of the most underplanned areas in the city. “Now is the time to create something out there that deals with the problems we face.” last_img read more