FL - Venice Shorts: The Time for an Action Plan for Venice Beach Is Now!

New political leadership, and the end of pandemic restrictions bodes well for a comprehensive action plan to restore and revive Venice Beach’s Oceanfront Walk that will return commerce and tourism to this urban beach enclave

The opportunity to drastically change the conditions at Venice Beach will only occur through active and persistent political and governmental leadership that is disciplined, focused and determined to create and construct meaningful and sustaining change not just for Venice, but for Los Angeles and the entire state of California.

For with the change in LA’s political leadership that understands nothing can be accomplished until the parallel problems of street encampments and homelessness are drastically reduced, contained and controlled, Venice’s Oceanfront Walk will continue to suffer economically and this undervalued and diminishing asset must have a plan in place that reverses course.

For an economic revival and renaissance of Venice’s Oceanfront Walk will be critical as two global events come to Los Angeles with the FIFA World Cup in 2026 and the 2028 Summer Olympics, which makes it third appearance to the City of Angels.

In both cases, part of the tourist dollars that will come with sponsoring such international events is dependent upon a Venice Beach that lives up to the notion of a marquee destination, and part of a hosting process that views our beaches and amenities as first rate and worthy of coming back.

For Venice should be an economic magnet for tourism, entertainment, dining and alike, and the challenges of increased crime and homelessness must be targeted and extracted from a district or venue designed to bolster commerce and goodwill.

With the Summer Olympics being organized as we speak, Venice to date is not the site of any events according to LA28, the organizing arm of these summer games.

Consider the size and geographic location of Los Angeles and the multitude of venues that will be included such as Santa Monica, the Honda Center, Staples, the Rose Bowl, a Downtown Sports Park as well as for the first time a Valley Sports Park, the fact nothing has been scheduled for Venice only sheds light on the current conditions that exist as  unsafe and unattractive for any event!

And while five years seems like a longtime and things might change, how does change occur if there is no plan in place to make it happen?

In my view, time is not on the side of the host.

Councilwoman Traci Park (CD-11) in a recent public appearance talked about her new committee assignments which includes Chair of the Trade, Travel & Tourism Committee for the LA Council and while her term is only four years, the preparation for these Olympic Games surely will weave through this committee moving forward. And with her council district a primary destination for tourism on the Westside, leisure and hospitality issues and concerns will certainly be on agenda for these upcoming events.

For it will take big ideas to host bigtime events that are on there way to LA and Venice naturally needs to be a part of both.

But what can be done to create a foundation for success?

In my mind the operation of Venice Beach needs to be reconsidered and configurated to include private management and private funding for this public venue.

Currently considered a park, I believe the creation of a restoration corporation with it’s own management team and board of directors with a specific action plan and timeline would cut through the red tape and take it out of the hands of LA Recreation & Parks as being simply too large of a challenge in it’s current condition.

Public/private entities and corporations have been wildly successful as in the case of the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation that was created in 1980 to assume control of that operation that was plagued with high crime, drug abuse and a host of other problems that today is now the envy of most municipalities and the host of Fashion Week in Manhattan that has been transformed from an urban park ghetto into first-class tourist destination directly behind the New York Public Library.

New York City’s transformation of Bryant Park would make the iconic urban planner Robert Moses proud.

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