Written by Cindy Carrillo, The Circle
Echo Park is located right off the 101 North and Echo Park Blvd. As you exit the freeway, the notorious lake rests in front of you. The lake is a popular hang-out spot by locals and visitors for as long as many can recall. In 2011, the lake closed for a two-year, $45 million renovation in order to restore its well-known beauty. Special events occur, including the annual Lotus Festival, which forms part of the city’s culture and history. However, how is this all affected by gentrification? Is it affected at all?
According to Merriam-Webster, gentrification is, “the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents.” In Echo Park, some may say that gentrification is the leading method in lowering crime rates and providing a safer neighborhood for all its residents. Opinions fluctuate when it comes to this topic, however. In future articles, I will provide interviews with current and past residents that will reflect a wide spectrum of such opinions.
As a long-term resident of Echo Park, I have seen first-hand the changes throughout the years, some positive and others negative. For a city that is primarily Hispanic, I continue to see local businesses turn from affordable eateries and smaller shops to overpriced bars, coffee shops and café’s that seem to lack the friendliness of previous owners. Many cities in Los Angeles, and throughout the United States, have succumbed to this movement, causing an uproar for certain individuals. Is there a thin line between how much good and bad gentrification causes in neighborhoods, like Echo Park?
If you or anyone you know, would like to share a story about gentrification, or Echo Park, feel free to reach out to me or The Athenian Print to discuss further details.