South L.A. development plan announced

SOUTH LOS ANGELES Artist renderings of a future building boom that would bring stores, businesses, entertainment and more housing to South L.A. were unveiled Thursday morning. /*Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa*/ was surrounded by members of the South L.A. Initiative to announce a five-year plan to do just that.

Officials say they're going to move forward with this project, despite a massive budget shortfall in the city, dismal local and state economy, and with job layoffs and home foreclosures at every turn.

"We're focused on South L.A., on investment projects, on development," said Mayor Villaraigosa. "We've identified a number of projects throughout South Los Angeles that are focused on creating jobs and bringing investment."

South L.A. residents had a variety of reactions.

"I don't feel like we need anymore restaurants built," said South L.A. resident Cara Simmons. "Housing I would agree with."

"Well, my biggest concern is the taxpayer will end up footing the bill," said local resident Karen Keating. "And we're in a hard situation anyway. And I can't afford to foot the bill."

"A lot of this money that we're using is community-redevelopment money augmenting local private investments," said Mayor Villaraigosa.

"Many of you know how difficult it is to stimulate new development in South L.A.," said /*Jan Perry*/, L.A. City Council. "So I'm proud that this development is bringing affordable, quality housing and a full-service grocery store to the heart of historic of Central Avenue."

"For me, everything we do really is about making sure our young people have positive opportunities and choices," said City Councilmember /*Janice Hahn*/.

Officials say, tough times or not, their plan is feasible and would not be a burden on taxpayers.


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