This summer, Councilmember Tom LaBonge finished up ten years of service to the neighborhood ofNorth Hollywood. He was first elected to represent the area in 2001, as a replacement for longtime Councilmember John Ferraro, after having spent two and a half decades in service to his native city. Recent redistricting has now removed this vibrant neighborhood from the Fourth District of the City ofLos Angelesand placed it under the trusted supervision of Councilmember Paul Krekorian in the Second District.
As a decade has now passed, now is a time to reflect on all the changes thatNorth Hollywoodhas seen over the years, all of them for the better. Take a walk along the streets ofNorth Hollywood, and you will find them overflowing with life.
Under Councilmember LaBonge,North Hollywoodsaw a wave of reinvestment, some of it funded by the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles. Those projects included a renovation of El Portal Theatre, which now shows live theater performances, a big change from its days as a silent movie palace. This theatre is an anchor of what is now the NoHo Arts District, with its theatres, galleries, dance studios, and restaurants. Another exceptional project adding to this mix was the Laemmle 7, bringing an independent-minded multiplex straight into the heart ofNorth Hollywood. This district is marked by the NoHo Gateway art piece, designed by local architect Peter Shire. It depicts cinema in motion, the production behind the scenes in neon colors.
There were improvements both large and small inNorth Hollywoodin the last ten years. Trees were planted onLankershim Boulevard, andBurbank Boulevardwas resurfaced. Environmentally friendly “green” alleys were paved between residential streets. Magnolia Boulevard experienced revitalization, and the Big Apple adult bookstore, formerly a tremendous source of crime, was shut down.
On the transit front, the Orange Line blazed throughNorth Hollywood, connecting Red Line riders to many Valley locations.A Chandler Boulevardbike path also came with this effort. Moving north on Lankershim, a new senior center is being built across from a new private school, the United Children’s Learning Academy, which just moved in. The public elementary schools in the district, from Maurice Sendak to Lankershim toOxnard Street, have also seen great improvements.
Nowhere is the change in the last decade more visible than atNoHoPark, which everyone should visit if given the chance. A new skate park hosts many fledgling youth skateboarders, prostitution issues have been combated, and a 9/11 memorial has been installed. Take a look up at the streetlights; they were some of the first solar-powered public lights in the city.
Here’s to 10 years of positive change inNorth Hollywood! And here’s to Councilmember Tom LaBonge! Let’s hope for another great decade.