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Westwood Village Improvement Association covers city plans, Hammer renovations

The Westwood Village Improvement Association held its annual meeting in the Hammer Museum Friday and reviewed last year’s programs and services, and next year’s plans for the Village. (Tess Mcmullin/Daily Bruin)

By Tess Mcmullin

Nov. 13, 2018 12:33 am

Westwood officials announced the city’s participation in a parking revenue program and future expansions of the Hammer Museum at a Friday meeting.

The Westwood Village Improvement Association reviewed last year’s programs and services, and next year’s plans for the Village during its annual meeting in the Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum.

The WVIA is a nonprofit organization which provides the Village with services and amenities like street cleaning seven days a week, daily security check-ins with businesses, recycling programs and beautification projects.

In 2018, 11 new businesses opened in Westwood. The Village also saw an expansion of the weekly farmers market on Broxton Street, which now hosts 40 vendors.

Andrew Thomas, executive director of the association, said Westwood was selected as a Parking Benefit District by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation as part of a pilot program. Thomas said with the program, 15 percent of the revenue from parking meters, which usually goes to the city of Los Angeles, will go back into the WVIA instead.

The program was a citywide initiative that began prior to the Great Recession in 2008, and is being reintroduced in two other targeted areas in Los Angeles along with Westwood.

Money collected from the program will increase the association’s $1.4 million annual budget by $29,000. The majority of the association’s revenue comes from assessment fees from businesses in the Village. Some of the revenue generated from the program will be used to further improve sidewalks and add electrical infrastructure.

Thomas said the additional revenue will also facilitate future projects, such as a plaza on Broxton Avenue.

“We are working to create a venue in our district, a place where people can come together and host events,” Thomas said. “To do so, we are working to close off to vehicular traffic a portion of south Broxton Avenue, so we can create a public pedestrian plaza.”

Ann Philbin, director of the Hammer Museum, talked about the museum’s future expansion projects at the meeting and their potential impact on the Village.

The Hammer will be expanding on Wilshire Boulevard, where Citibank is currently located. The entrance to the gallery will be moved to the corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard. The museum also plans to build an outdoor terrace and a wall with a vertical garden.

The Audrey at the Hammer, a new cafe, will open in January. The restaurant will feature an indoor and an outdoor bar with a full liquor license. It will stay open until 11 p.m., after the museum has closed.

Philbin said she is focused on making Westwood a cultural hub, at which the Hammer is the center.

“What this city desperately needs is places of secular congregation, places to gather around various activities,” Philbin said.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz said he was optimistic about the current and future development of the Village.

“Westwood Village is now showing true evidence of being in the midst of a major growth period and moving towards its full potential,” Koretz said.

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Tess Mcmullin
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