For years it was first on the wish list of needed Los Feliz improvements, and as time went by, the neglected patch of ground known as the Vermont Triangle was the unsightly home to dying foliage, rats and vagrants. The Greater Griffith Park Neighborhood Council’s (GGPNC) Neighborhood Improvement Committee inherited the project as the Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) obtained funding from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to improve the property as part of its transportation corridor. The GGPNC committee served as a conduit for community meetings, taking surveys, and approving designs.
The Los Feliz Village Business Improvement District (LFVBID) agreed to maintain the trees and other foliage after the initial planting. The community gathered at the Triangle in 2009 to celebrate completion of this long awaited project.
Fast forward to today and it’s a sorry situation indeed. Leadership at the LFVBID changed and citing a lack of resources, the new BID has not kept its agreement. Weeds have grown, trees need pruning, the irrigation system has been dismantled, and the vagrants never left the neglected space.
Before its demise, the CRA’s Project Manager would occasionally cite various problems like the deteriorating landscaping, vagrants, or taxi cab drivers littering. The resource poor city refuses to maintain this patch of ground because it isn’t a park. The police claim that the vagrants have just as much right to live in Los Feliz as we do, even though adequate housing resources exist downtown.
Councilmember Tom LaBonge’s office has brokered an arrangement with Kaiser-Permanente and People Assisting the Homeless (PATH). Kaiser, with offices just down the street, understands the impact that blight has on the health of a community, and will maintain the Triangle for six months. PATH has offered to “work with the homeless” if someone is willing to come up with $50,000 for their services
“This sorry situation is a black eye for our community,” said Don Seligman, immediate LFIA Past President. “The Triangle is the most visible entrance to our village. As we bask in the notoriety of being one of the best areas in the City of Los Angeles, we cannot sit idly by and point fingers. It will take more than CD 4, Kaiser, and PATH to find a solution. It will take all of us working with our community organizations to step forward and share the responsibility.”
If not us, who? If not now, when? The rats are waiting and it won’t be long until they are back.