17 Mar CoCo Wins LA’s Great Streets Challenge
Community Coalition (CoCo) has officially been selected as a Great Streets Awardee. This accomplishment comes with $500,000 to begin transforming the Vermont/Manchester empty lot into the People’s Plaza. It also includes an additional $12,000 to conduct community outreach for the next four months to finalize the concept and design. The Great Streets Challenge is a program of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Great Streets Initiative. The goal of the program is to envision, collaborate on, and build transformative street infrastructure projects. The Great Streets Challenge aims to:
- Build strong partnerships between communities and the City of Los Angeles,
- Empower communities to develop a vision that transforms neighborhood corridors,
- Design streets with a community’s vision of how to improve neighborhoods for all people,
- Implement projects that transform streets into safe, accessible, and vibrant public spaces.
When CoCo accepted the Great Streets Challenge, its focus was on executing a project that will ultimately uplift the leadership of South LA community members to change their communities for the better. The primary goals of the project were to engage Vermont-Manchester community stakeholders and South LA residents to conceptualize and lead a process that results in changing the landscape to reflect those who live there. Just as important as addressing the material conditions of the site was the need to reflect the rich legacy of culture, advancement, and success of Black and Latinx residents in jeopardy of displacement.
“We want to thank everyone who supported the Great Streets process in the last six months. But most importantly, major shoutout to the South Central by South Central community organizers who led us to this win, which demonstrates how it can look when development is community-driven. We are ready to continue ensuring that our South LA residents are the ones deciding how public and private developments should look when built in our community.” Oscar Alvarez, Lead Organizer on the South Central by South Central Campaign.
Many of CoCo’s core values and objectives align with the City’s Great Streets Challenge. CoCo deployed a proactive, resident-led, and highly organized strategy for community outreach when applying for Great Streets Challenge. The outreach process provided CoCo’s resident leaders with the vehicle to galvanize disenchanted community members to participate in an active and meaningful project that will have immediate implications for their community.