Zoning In On Casa Del Mexicano’s Future

Nonprofit sets date for evening of fun at longtime cultural center.

By EGP News Report

While renovations and programming has been delayed, the East Los Angeles Community Corporation (ELACC) plans to kick off operations at La Casa del Mexicano later this month.

According to ELACC President Maria Cabildo, on Sept. 26 the nonprofit organization will hold one of its “Lotería” (Latin American equivalent of bingo) at the facility.

Lotería nights typically involve conversations or organizing, but “we think this time it will be just fun!” Cabildo said.

On Aug. 29, ELACC held a second community meeting since taking over guardianship of the one time nonprofit cultural center from its previous stewards who were forced to relinquish control of the facility and dissolve its decades old nonprofit amid allegations of mismanagement and personal enrichment.

The first meeting, held last spring, drew about 150 people, including a large number of young people brought in by the i.am.angel Foundation, Cabildo said. People at the meeting were asked to weigh-in on what they would like to see go on at the center, located in Boyle Heights.

The second meeting, which drew about 75 people, provided feedback from the first meeting, and break out groups narrowed down what they wanted: an educational, technology and/or cultural center, Cabildo said.

An informal resident committee was also formed to help advise on what activities can be done right away “to keep the space alive,” she told EGP.

Narrowing down the programming focus helps ELACC begin to look into what funding streams are available, she explained.

The programming and building renovations have been stalled because the building transfer has not yet been finalized. According to Cabildo, there have been issues with transferring the property’s title, in large part due to “the way the court decision was issued, the way the Attorney General handled the whole transaction… the title company is being nervous… if the company is not comfortable, it won’t issue a policy.”

Cabildo said the building is not modern, there is no Internet wiring or compatibility, nor is it handicap accessible. The bathrooms also need upgrades, but the building is useable and they are looking forward to starting programming at the site.

“We’re looking forward to how we [ELACC and the community] can work together to make Casa del Mexicano once again an important part of the community life,” she said.

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September 5, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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