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Mayor Villaraigosa, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas celebrate light-rail station in Leimert Park

City News Service | 5/24/2013, 9:58 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas joined residents of South Los Angeles today to celebrate this week's decisions to spend $120 million on a light-rail stop in Leimert Park.

The station, which will be built along the 8.5-mile Crenshaw Boulevard-to-LAX light rail line, is scheduled for completion in 2018. It was widely supported by South Los Angeles neighborhood groups, and business and religious leaders.

Metro's Board of Directors Thursday approved $80 million for the station, which will be built in what is considered a historic enclave of black business and culture in Los Angeles, a day after the City Council committed $40 million of the city's share of Measure R local return funds.

"I am delighted that the board has approved funding to make this historic community a train stop. Leimert Park is an iconic neighborhood in Los Angeles," said Ridley-Thomas, who as a Metro board member co-sponsored the motion to finance the project.

Damien Goodmon of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition said the station will revitalize south Los Angeles.

Over the past five years, the coalition has collected signatures, held community meetings and submitted "hundreds of pages of documents" to the Metro board in an effort to get the "transformative" project off the ground, according to Goodmon.

"We thank our political leaders, Mark Ridley-Thomas, for championing this effort, and Mayor Villaraigosa for delivering on his promises to the Leimert Park community," he said.

The Metro board previously had declined to commit funding for the station as part of the line's $1.7-billion budget.

Villaraigosa, who also sits on the board, co-sponsored the motion to fund the station.

"The fate of the Leimert Park Village station on the Crenshaw/LAX line has -- up until today -- been uncertain," Villaraigosa said, praising city leaders and the Metro board for having "stepped up to the plate" with the funding.

The future Crenshaw line will connect the Expo and Green lines and will make it easier to shuttle travelers "to and from LAX," and "most importantly, this $1.7 billion investment will serve the residents throughout Leimert Park, Hyde Park, Baldwin Hills, Inglewood and Westchester," the mayor said.

On Wednesday, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved the first piece of funding for the project, $40 million in Measure R local return funds.

The effort to secure those funds was spearheaded by Councilman Bernard Parks, who said the station will link south Los Angeles with the rest of the city.