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Monday, September 26, 2016

Glassell Park by any other name

Glassell Park was named after Andrew Glassell, a prominent Los Angeles attorney, and his family who settled in the area more than a century ago. But a few neighborhood businesses and institutions have apparently renamed the neighborhood in honor of other places, like Atwater, Eagle Rock and Glendale. There is, for example, the Korean car dealership on San Fernando Road that promotes itself as Glendale Kia; the new brewery that took the name Eagle Rock Brewery; and a soon-to-open campus called The Los Feliz Charter School. For a while, the Bauer Pottery showroom used to say it was located in Atwater Village. Now it just says “Los Angeles,” said Glassell Park resident Laura Gutierrez. Gutierrez returned to Glassell Park about a decade ago to find a very different place than she grew up in, one that didn’t seem as cohesive and a bit confused about its identity:

“With the change in zip codes and the creation of neighborhood councils,
many community boundaries were changed. I as well as many, have noticed a change, there is no real sense of community anymore. Fletcher Square, Cazador Ridge, Verdugo Village, everyone has to have their own piece of designation but at the end of the day, it’s still Glassell Park …”

Click on the link below to read Gutierrez’s full response to the question: “What do people have against Glassell Park?

There seems to confusion as to where the real boundaries of Glassell Park and the other surrounding Northeast LA communities begin and end. When I grew up here as a child, I always knew I lived in Los Angeles. Growing up in here, we always had a wonderful sense of community. It was a wonderful place to grow up. There was the ever popular Van de Kamps Bakery and Restaurant at Fletcher Square(I remember the smell of bread baking), Hughes Market, K Mart, Community Bank, Capitol Records, Verdugo Hardware along with the mix of family owned businesses.

After living in other parts of California for 15 years, I moved back to Glassell Park in 1999. This wasn’t the same Glassell Park I grew up in. I was sad to see the once vibrant community with many storefronts and businesses closed. But I also saw this had also happened in Eagle Rock, Atwater Village, and other NE communities.

Some communities have redefined themselves and you are seeing the results of this. Others like Glassell park, are slowly catching up. Not wanting to be labeled a NIMBY or accused of gentrification, how does one approach making Glassell Park a more desirable place to live and work?. At one time, there were many active groups striving to make Glassell Park a better place to live and work. Working with the Van de Kamps Coalition, we saw the vacant site as the potential for both by bring in LACC to build a satellite campus. Now that the Los Angeles Community College District has other plans for that site, one wonders how these changes will affect our community(that’s another story).

With the change in zip codes and the creation of neighborhood councils, many community boundaries were changed. I as well as many, have noticed a change, there is no real sense of community anymore. Fletcher Square, Cazador Ridge, Verdugo Village, everyone has to have their own piece of designation but at the end of the day, it’s still Glassell Park. Everyone has their own agendas and no one is working together. Could it also be that Glassell Park is divided by 3 council districts? And one is always reminded of the ongoing gang problems in Drew-Estara Neighborhood. Although many efforts are being made today to clean up that neighborhood, it may take many more years to get rid of the criminal element. It still is a negative factor for new businesses. And let’s not forget, CRA wants to come to Glassell Park and Atwater Village.

But, there have been small changes and beginnings, SUPER KING Markets opened, Fresh and Easy as well. All My Children filming here, and High School #13. I met Jeremy and Steve Raub from Eagle Rock Brewery. They came to this community wanting our support for their business. I’ll admit, there were a few people against them opening their business here but after listening to them and what their goals were for their business and for the community, it could be a win/win for both.

So, I take it with a grain of salt, what’s in a name doesn’t always matter, it’s the people. Glassell Park may not be for everyone, but it’s good enough for some of us.



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