INGLEWOOD, Calif. (KABC) — The city of Inglewood is planning to build a 1.6-mile elevated transit system. According to city officials, the project is expected to improve air quality and alleviate traffic – but it would also force the relocation of dozens of local businesses.
“We’re very concerned because the progress should be for the ones that we’ve been hanging in here for the city of Inglewood, not what’s happening now for other businesses that are coming to the city with big names,” said Gloria Martin.
Martin’s family owns several businesses in Inglewood, including Fiesta Martin Bar & Grill. Two of her family’s businesses would be forced to close because of this project.
“For them to say, ‘Hey we’re going to displace you. We’re going to put you somewhere else.’ How do we know that’s going to work? How do we know that people are going to continue to follow us even if it’s just a mile away or a block away?” said Esaul Martin Jr., another co-owner of Fiesta Martin Bar & Grill
If this plan comes to fruition under eminent domain, more than 40 businesses would need to make way for the Inglewood Transit Connector. Mayor James Butts said there is funding to relocate the businesses and he said the plan is to keep the businesses in Inglewood.
“We have a goodwill fund that can help them with lost revenues and so we’ve gone above and beyond what is normally done in a normal relocation for a public project,” Butts said.
The ITC project will cost about $1.6 billion, but Mayor Butts said it won’t cost Inglewood tax payers.
Amelia Hernandez, another impacted business owner, points out that moving businesses like the CVS could impact the senior community.
“The senior center actually services over 5000 seniors that live and reside within a five-block radius around here,” said Hernandez who owns Selwyn Jewelry shop. Hernandez adds that the it’s also the only 24 hour plaza and resource for seniors in the area.
The city said they are doing everything they can to make this a smooth transition. They said they’ve listened to feedback and are amending their original plans to close down a Vons grocery store.
Dr. Frank Scolinos has been an optometrist in Inglewood for over 30 years, and owns Inglewood Optometric Center.
He said while he has concerns, he is also excited about the change.
“Overall no complaints about the process,” Scolinos said. “I know the process takes time. I wish I knew some deadlines, so I can start looking for another location and start to rebuild again.
The plan is for the Inglewood transit project to be completed in time for the 2028 Olympics.
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