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Editorials:

Improving city’s looks

May 01, 2010

The Mervyn’s at Broadway and Brand Boulevard, one of the city’s most prominent commercial corners, has sat vacant for months. It’s more than an eyesore: It’s depressing, a constant reminder of the stale economic mess we’ve all found ourselves in.

The vacant storefront is the ultimate sign of economic distress, especially once it starts to meld with the landscape, as if it’s been there all along. So a program approved by the City Council this week to mask the economic bitterness with a bit of artful sugar should be a welcome reprieve, if for no other reason than shoppers and commuters will no longer be confronted with the recession.

The program, in which a third-party firm will coordinate art displays and galleries in vacant storefronts, has been successfully implemented in other cities such as Long Beach, where residents there have benefited from the visual easement of failed businesses downtown.

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Here, the same Beverly Hills-based firm will focus on transforming the dreary landscapes along Broadway and Maryland Avenue — where shops in the Exchange and the Marketplace have had a particularly hard time — into something worth looking at, even visiting.

Once it takes hold, it should not only improve the moods of passersby, but even serve as a draw to neighboring businesses that have managed to cling to life like a Venus flytrap in a sterile environment.

And because Glendale’s general perceived lack of cultural and artistic grace is nothing new, perhaps a few high-profile exhibits in what have been some pretty high-profile vacancies will for the first time turn some jaded heads.


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