Dozens of Inglewood businesses will have to relocate after the city approved the construction of a new transportation system to improve air quality and ease traffic problems.
The Transit Connection project, which will link Inglewood’s downtown subway station to the Kia Forum and SoFi Stadium, is moving forward as an ambitious plan to boost economic development in this city, the mayor said.
“This is going to change the transit paradigm,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said. “It will move 11,000 people per hour and give people a reason to use this system without having to drive their car into the town of Inglewood.”
It is designed to host concerts, theatrical performances, award ceremonies, sports competitions, community gatherings, etc.
The system consists of an elevated track that will span a mile and a half, with three stations, and will be built with an approximate investment of $1.5 billion.
However, for dozens of traders, this project would be disastrous because they claim that their businesses would be demolished. This would force them to evacuate this area where some of them have been living for many years.
“Even if they move us a mile, two blocks won’t be the same, it will never be the same again,” said Esaúl Martín, owner of Fiesta Martín Bar and Grill. “It cost us a lot of work, a lot of sacrifices, both for the family and for the employees we have to create this company”
Martin is one of the owners of the 41 businesses that will be affected. The trader points out that in addition to the significant economic losses, what worries him the most is that dozens of employees would find themselves out of work.
This seriously affects the budget of many families.
“We have to look, apply elsewhere or see where we stand, because the economic situation is difficult at the moment,” said Ángel Salazar, an employee of Fiesta Martín Bar and Grill.
On Thursday, passers-by in Inglewood saw a new sign go up outside the venue, proclaiming it “Kia Forum”.
Inglewood’s mayor said the city will channel resources for business relocation, including a $5 million business relief fund. This fund, he added, will be available once construction on the project begins.
“We will have the strongest business protection plan of any major project ever in this country,” Butts said.
Traders point out, however, that these funds would be insufficient since they would not allow them to locate themselves in a place where they can recover economically.
Authorities say they plan to start construction early next year, with the aim of completing it before the 2028 Olympics. complete the project will not be in place.