Last week the City of Inglewood ascended into some rare air, as the grounds were broken on the old Thrifty Oil site in District 2, that will bring the city a highly anticipated Community Center.
The air is rare in this venture because, as Mayor Butts puts it, “There’s something unique about what’s happening here. This is the first time that I know of, that a company, that owns a property, turns it over to a city, for city use, for the next 22 years, and then pays us for the privilege. Now that’s pretty darn special.”
“This gas station has laid fallow for 14-15 years, it’s just been an eye sore. When I ran for office, Mary McBride and Juanita Whithrow told me that if I do anything, I need to get this fixed, and over the years Bill and Barry will tell you that we tried to work out a few things, but just didn’t have the support from the District 2 representative. But the minute Alex took that seat, we figured (out) a project that would work, provide the community with a community center, and at the same time guarantee us no less than $100,000 in revenue.”
You heard right, the City gets a brand new community center and will make money off of the property as well. Who does that?
Councilman Alex Padilla was introduced to the stage as “the greatest Councilperson District 2 has ever had”, and added, “This was something that, before I got on the council, people had always talked to me about, and I knew that once I got elected, this was gonna be my priority because this was what our residents’ priority was, this was what you wanted to get done. I’ve always said, that it’s not about you, and it’s certainly not about me, but it’s about us. It’s about all of us, and what we’re (doing) to improve this community and today is one of those events, where it’s about all of us here in the community.”
Councilman Padilla took the opportunity to allow residents to share their thoughts on the launch of the center, and invited to the stage Mary McBride and Hank Harris or District 2. “I keep thinking that, this must be a dream, please don’t wake me. My wife and I moved here about 25 years ago and for most of that time, we’ve been saddled with this eye sore, we’ve been wishing this thing gone, but I am glad to see this day here, so if it is a dream, again, don’t wake me.”
Mary McBride added, “Finally, this day has come!”
Mayor Butts introduced two of the principals in the center’s development, Marc Berg and Barry Berkett, who spoke briefly on how much of a pleasure it was to work with this new council, “This has been a long process. Over the last several years I’ve been in many, many, meetings where I felt like a target, where everybody complained about us, but there was nothing that we could do. But when Mayor Butts and Councilman Padilla approached us and tried to come up with a creative way to deal with this property, we were very happy to see that we came up with, what we perceive as a win-win for us, and the community.”
The ceremony concluded with elected officials, residents, and community partners lifting shovels and commencing the breaking of ground and the beginning of the city’s new community center. As the photos snapped, the group chanted a loud INGLEWOOD, to solidify that we’re not just on the move, but we’re moving together.