By Lynne T. Jewell
The LFIA has served Los Feliz for over 100 years. A flotilla of indefatigable volunteers has continually worked in the community and behind-the-scenes to ensure that Los Feliz remains the vibrant and diverse neighborhood that we all love.
Think community, nature and history when you think of LFIA.
Just to clarify: LFIA stands for Los Feliz Improvement Association. But over the years, everyone’s come to refer to us as LFIA. We are an all-volunteer membership organization that advocates for and takes action to improve the quality of life for ALL Los Feliz residents.
March is our membership month and we want to give you an overview of what we do and tell you about new upcoming projects as we continue to expand our scope to meet the needs of the community. Some of the issues and solutions we focus on include assistance for those experiencing homelessness, traffic and safety, thoughtful development and neighborhood character and Griffith Park preservation.
Historically, LFIA’s been a caretaker of beautiful Los Feliz Boulevard lined with our community’s signature Deodar Cedar trees. We’ve had a tradition of planting and maintaining the deodars and early in our history advocated for the removal of billboards and businesses along the boulevard. The collegiate Gothic-designed John Marshall High School still stands, as a result of LFIA’s efforts. In the 1970’s, LFIA spearheaded a successful campaign to save JMHS from the wrecking ball following the Sylmar earthquake. And, LFIA’s push for an improved water system in Griffith Park played a major role in limiting damage during the 2007 park fire.
“It’s taken a lot of work over the years to make Los Feliz what it is today, thanks to a community filled with hard-working dedicated volunteers,” said LFIA president Amy Gustincic.
So what have we done for you lately?
Remember that badly-needed, newly dedicated left turn lane from Vermont Avenue onto Los Feliz Boulevard? That was a result of LFIA’s never-give-up urging to make it happen. The same goes for more public transportation in Griffith Park resulting in the now-popular Observatory DASH shuttle.
Some of our on-going activities include Beautification Days (volunteers clean storm drains before the winter rains), donations to support local public schools, casual socials at local businesses and Photo Day to document Los Feliz history.
Watch for new programs in 2020. “LFIA Moves” includes events, such as guided hikes and walking tours to provide opportunities for physically-active and community-minded folks in Los Feliz to explore the neighborhood together. Also coming up are “LFIA Reads,” a member-only book club and “LFIA Shares,” which will connect local experts on specialized subjects with our members.
With two similar sounding community organizations, LFIA (Los Feliz Improvement Association) and LFNC (Los Feliz Neighborhood Council), we know that the difference between the two groups can be confusing. Both work to make the community a better place. But LFNC is a governmental arm of City Hall and LFIA is an independent advocacy non-profit that’s been part of the community landscape for over a century.
“Los Feliz is lucky to have so many concerned and active residents,” said Gustincic. “Belonging to LFIA is a great way to connect with the community.”
Join or renew your LFIA membership online at lifa.org/membership.
This column appeared in the March 2020 issue of the Los Feliz Ledger