The $30 million project will celebrate Black culture and create community space along a main commercial corridor in the Black community.
The Crenshaw District of South Los Angeles is a hub for Black art, culture and commerce. And it’s about to get a fresh look. There’s a grass roots revival taking place in the region, poised to prove that Black LA is a place to be, not just a place to pass through.
A public/private partnership known as Destination Crenshaw is working to create a vibrant corridor of Black culture, mirroring the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Koreatown, Chinatown and Olvera Street. U.S. Bank is proud to support the project, which will include six new pocket parks with more than 800 newly planted trees, fresh landscaping, more than 100 works of public art commissioned by Black artists, and support for more than 40 local businesses and nonprofits. The initiative will also create 60 new permanent jobs and 600 union construction jobs.
The project is made possible by $30 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation, which generated an $8.9 million equity investment from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), the community investment and tax credit division of U.S. Bank.
U.S. Bank is one of four allocatees through its community development entity – USBCDE, LLC – and acted as both NMTC allocatee and investor for the project. Other allocatee partners include Lendistry, Building America and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
“U.S. Bank is committed to supporting projects that drive racial equity, and we’re excited about this unique opportunity to back the Crenshaw community while also spotlighting Black artists and Black history,” said Laura Vowell, business development director with USBCDC. “It’s why we’re not only supporting Destination Crenshaw as an NMTC investor, but also bringing NMTC allocation through our own community development entity. We wholeheartedly believe in the vital importance of this project in helping to bridge the racial wealth gap.”
The bank’s community development entity has made a strategic commitment to specifically direct its NMTC allocation to projects that support racial equity, and the bank’s investment in Destination Crenshaw also supports U.S. Bank Access Commitment.
Destination Crenshaw was conceived to celebrate and revitalize the Crenshaw District as the major commercial corridor from Hyde Park to Leimert Park. As a Black community with deep roots and a bright future, the arrival of the K Line light rail and the new football stadium in neighboring Inglewood have brought fears of gentrification. This place-keeping project celebrates being “unapologetically and authentically Black” in the most artistic and inclusive ways, amidst the transit construction and impending demographic changes.
The first phase of the project will create Sankofa Park, an open-air museum of African American history and culture that will anchor the northern end of Destination Crenshaw. Sankofa is a word in the Twi language of Ghana meaning “to retrieve” or "go back and get,” which is what organizers hope to achieve when it comes to the vibrancy of the neighborhood that has been hard hit by the pandemic. The project will extend 1.3 miles down Crenshaw Boulevard through the Hyde Park neighborhood where the U.S. Bank branch is a main fixture with “The Heart of Hyde Park” mural, created in coordination with local nonprofit LA Commons and various community organizations and local artists.
Watch a video from a recent workers appreciation event celebrating the construction team and the people behind the scenes making the project possible.
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