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Bringing Back Broadway Honors Year of Progress

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, December 11, 2008, at 08:47AM
Broadway Award Eric Richardson [Flickr]

Bringing Back Broadway Executive Director Jessica Wethington McLean presents an award to Councilman Jose Huizar on Wednesday night.

Councilman Jose Huizar joked on Wednesday night that the Bringing Back Broadway effort has more meetings than city council. First announced on January 28, the effort now has a dozen committees and subcommittees working on different pieces of Broadway's revitalization. Those involved took a break on Wednesday to celebrate all that the effort has accomplished in a whirlwind first year.

It's an impressive list of progress and milestones. The effort to bring a streetcar back to Downtown "got back on track" -- a pun made several times over the course of the night -- with a non-profit created, community workshops held and initial funding identified. A Commercial Reuse Task Force was formed to bring back Broadway's million square feet of vacant upper-floor space, and held its first meeting this past week. Just a month ago, a new loan program offering $150 million annually in redevelopment funds was announced.

Councilman Huizar spoke of how important it had been for the project to appoint an Executive Director, someone who "wakes up in the morning thinking about Broadway." Huizar appointed Jessica Wethington Mclean, formerly his Planning deputy, to that post in July.

At the reception, held high above City Hall in the Tom Bradley room, McLean presented awards to a dozen individuals who have been particularly instrumental in the year's efforts.

Honored were Robert Voskanian of the Million Dollar Theatre, Mike Buhler of the Los Angeles Conservancy, Russell Brown of the Historic Downtown BID, Tara Jones Hamacher of National Preservation Partners, Jim Atkins of Merlone Geier Management, Cedd Moses of 213 Ventures, Tom Steidl of David Gray Architects, Curt Gibbs of the Community Redevelopment Agency, Lillian Burkenheim of CRA and Linda Dishman of the L.A. Conservancy.

Surprise honors were given to Tricia Robbins, the CD14 intern who has assisted Mclean on the Broadway effort, and to Councilman Huizar for his leadership on the project.


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