Program to bring $1.8 million to Crenshaw

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Wave Staff and Wire Report

CRENSHAW — A new designation for Crenshaw Boulevard from Vernon Avenue to 60th Street will provide as much as $1.8 million for programs to support small businesses and job creation in the neighborhood.

The City Council voted 10-0 Sept. 27 to name the stretch of Crenshaw from Leimert Park south to just past Slauson Avenue as a Jobs and Economic Development Incentive (JEDI) Zone for the next five years.

The designation will allow the city’s Economic and Workforce Development Department to implement a Business Incentive Plan, which includes providing permit subsidies of up to $10,000 for up to 30 businesses with a total allocation of up to $300,000.

An additional $1.5 million will be appropriated to the Department of Building and Safety and Department of City Planning for permit fee reductions.

Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson, who represents the 8th District, which encompasses the Crenshaw Boulevard JEDI Zone, initiated the action.

“The JEDI Zone program presents an opportunity to leverage these activities to further support small businesses and job creation on Crenshaw Boulevard as well as other communities throughout the council district,” Harris-Dawson said in his motion that was approved by the council.

He noted that Crenshaw Boulevard has numerous small businesses that provide critical goods and service to the community. Significant public investments are already under construction in this area, including Destination Crenshaw and the Crenshaw/LAX rail line.

The Economic and Workforce Development Department defines JEDI Zones as “areas where local economic incentives will be used to enhance businesses, attract new businesses and industries that will result in increased economic development and growth in the city, particularly in communities that have been historically underinvested.”

According to the department, Harris-Dawson’s district is home to a large population of African-American and Latino residents.

According to data provided by the American Community Survey from 2016 to 2020, the  district’s median household income is $51,701, while the median household income in the city is $65,290. The survey notes that 23.8% of 8th District residents live below the poverty line.

A report issued by the Economic and Workforce Development Department emphasizes a need to support local businesses and bolster economic development in the area.

“Implementation of the JEDI Zone program can assist area businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent the permanent closures of small and minority-owned businesses,” the report said.

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