I was just sitting here thinking about the Community Reception/Celebration that will be held on Tuesday night, Nov. 18 at 5pm, hosted by Nikkei Center Partners at the Japanese American National Museum, 369 E. 1st Street in Little Tokyo. And then I came upon an article "A Little Tokyo Renaissance: Imagine the Possibilities" from April 2004 by Kei Nagao and Tony Osumi from J-townVoice! Here is an excerpt:
"So what we now have is a major victory within Little Tokyo’s grasp. Instead of Parker Center being built along Alameda between First and Temple, Mayor Hahn now supports the land being open for community input. With Little Tokyo control and possibly even community-backed development, we could reconnect Nishi Buddhist Temple to the rest of Little Tokyo and create thriving retail space, public parking, community housing and other Little Tokyo necessities all along First Street and Alameda. The Mayor’s proposal, called Plan A1.5, and another plan being considered by the community called Plan B1, both help J-Town and Nishi avoid the street closures and the negative impact of a massive LAPD complex.
With a new Metro Gold Line station planned for the corner of First and Alameda, the area could also become a LA cultural destination spot and a bustling gateway to Little Tokyo and the Little Tokyo Arts District. Echoing what many community members have said over the last year with City planners, Mayor Hahn sees the city-owned land as an opportunity to build a “vibrant urban village” instead of another encroaching city complex. Who would be against such a win-win solution?
In a few years, picture the constant stream of families coming to J-Town for basketball tournaments, library visits, and dinner with grandma and grandpa at the Far East Café. Visualize young people cruising First Street, meeting friends, slurping late night noodles and filling their hearts at poetry readings. Envision a mixture of Los Angelinos filling theater seats, playing volleyball, tasting sushi and strolling under blooming cherry blossoms. It’s all possible.
Helping Little Tokyo rise back up like the mythical phoenix is more than exciting--it’s our responsibility. We are this generation’s caretakers of Little Tokyo. As residents, small businesses, Japanese American institutions, elected officials and City planners--let’s work together to reclaim and extend Little Tokyo’s borders and lay the groundwork for a Little Tokyo Renaissance. Imagine the possibilities. "