By Nathan Solis
HIGHLAND PARK — Like it or not, a grand opening will be held on August 15 for a drive-thru style Starbucks on York Boulevard. While some Highland Park residents can’t wait for their Frappuccinos, the mere mention of the coffee chain’s name at a recent neighborhood council sparked a debate about supporting local businesses.
Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council President Monica Alcaraz motioned for the council to host the grand opening in support of the new business. But some board members questioned the need to support this particular business, pointing out that a Starbucks could hurt other local businesses in the area. The motion passed.
“That’s not what this motion is” about, said Alcaraz,noting that the Starbucks franchise owner promised to hire local residents and the Starbucks Corporation offered to pay for the installation of a nearby cross walk. “All of that has already been decided. We’re going to hold them accountable for all their actions.”
At the same neighborhood council meeting, a motion was passed to pursue a town hall meeting in regards to gentrification in Highland Park. Director-at-large Fernando Villa stated that some residents and the local chamber of commerce have expressed concern about the topic of gentrification and rising real estate prices. This would be the second neighborhood meeting on gentrification in Highland Park.
* Correction: A previous version of this story said the Starbucks grand opening was scheduled for July 14. That’s wrong. The correct date is August 15.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.