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Creating a community

October 30, 2000

The high concentration of people and the number of aging buildings in

the area have generated deterioration, said Jess Duran, assistant

director of the city's Community Development and Housing Department.

"Southern Glendale has neighborhoods that need revitalization, that

need extra attention in order to arrest continued decline," he said.

'MONEY STARTED COMING OUT OF THE CRACKS'

Observers say the area sparked extra attention from city officials

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beginning in the mid-1990s.

"The money started to come out of the cracks and into south Glendale,"

Cianfrini said.

In the past four years, city officials and others have made

significant efforts to improve the area for business owners and

residents.

Projects such as the Glendale Galleria attracted much of the city's

focus to the downtown area in the 1970s and '80s, but officials

eventually shifted some of their attention to other areas.

"While the Galleria continued to do well, the rest of the retail

market was struggling," states the Greater Downtown Strategic Plan,

developed in 1996. "The surrounding neighborhoods were experiencing

problems. The impact of the unprecedented building boom of the 1980s was

being felt. These dramatic changes resulted in a strong sense of

frustration concerning the quality of life in the neighborhoods."

A COMMERCIAL ENDEAVOR

A year later, the city looked beyond the Greater Downtown area and

began work on a revitalization of the Adams Square commercial district,

which houses about 40 shops and other businesses in southern Glendale.

City officials, working in conjunction with local business owners and

residents, have developed a two-part improvement plan for Adams Square,

which begins at Chevy Chase and Acacia Avenue and winds south along the

boulevard to Adams Street and Palmer Avenue.

Street lights were installed along Acacia in 1999 and the Adams Square

Merchants Assn. formed in March.

Hoping to enhance the appearance of the district, where many of the

storefronts are in need of repair, a facade improvement grant program was

developed through which merchants could apply for up to $10,000 for

repair costs.

"The buildings are old and, maybe, to keep rents reasonable, property

owners aren't likely to spend money on them," Duran said.

Cianfrini, who runs Crysti Cleaners on Adams Street and heads the

merchants' association, compared the rundown area to a "derelict ship."

But he has high hopes for the facade program. Its first six projects

could begin within one or two months, and other improvements are planned.

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