The Effort Continues to Save Wyvernwood
An air of worry and anticipation for the proposed redevelopment and relocation of thousands of families clouds a nice summer evening at Wyvernwood Apartments. A nearby playground is filled with children while residents slowly gather to begin the monthly Comité de la Esperanza resident meeting.
The comite, which started a few years back, is a joint effort between group leaders and active residents—sometimes going door to door— to inform others about the $2-billion redevelopment project proposed by Fifteen Group. The plan, opposed publicly by Councilmember Jose Huizar in April, consists of demolishing the existing garden-style residential complex and converting the property into high-rise apartment dwellings with an added commercial zone. With it come issues of preservation, density, rent-control and gentrification, to name a few.
Speakers at today’s meeting included leaders from the Comité de la Esperanza, a representative from the L.A. Conservancy, as well as lawyer Maria Elena Rodriguez, who announced that the Environmental Impact Report (data that that will influence the project’s development) would be released next month. Residents were also cautioned by the developer’s attempts to lure residents into relocating by offering $18,500 to qualifying residents— namely those who can provide a social security number. One of the organizers explained that after state taxes and moving costs, each relocating family may end up with a $10,000 reward.
The Comité de la Esperanza is composed mostly of resident adults; however there are very few youth involved. Raul Jaime, a 16-year-old student at Roosevelt High School, has been a Wyvernwood resident for 10 years. He has recently become involved in the Comité de la Esperanza’s efforts to save Wyvernwood.
“I do this, not just to get community service, but really because we want to save the apartments and the culture that has been here for years,” said Jaime. He hopes his leadership will strengthen the Comité de la Esperanza by bringing in a youth component, he says.
This Friday, July 8th at 8:30 pm, the Comité will host an outdoor movie night in an effort to create more unity amongst the youth at Wyvernwood. Other youth activities are being coordinated by Luis Salinas, a recent college graduate and lifetime Wyvernwood resident who has returned to give back to his community. Salinas plans to hold several university and college-bound activities during the month of August, geared towards informing the youth at Wyvernwood.