LOS ANGELES — City Councilman Kevin de León, along with various city departments, Monday opened a Business Resource Center to support businesses affected by the 10 Freeway fire, which closed one of the nation's busiest roads for more than a week.
What You Need To Know
- The Business Resource Center, located at 500 S. Central, is a "one- stop shop" for business owners to connect with different city and county departments, according to Councilman Kevin de León
- It will be open until Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- De León urged local businesses impacted by the fire to come, stop by, share their stories and get the aid they might need
- The center will offer access to a range of resources, government agencies and representatives who can guide business owners in multiple languages
"This closure has had, as we know, a tremendous impact on hundreds of thousands of Southern California commuters who rely on this vital artery," de León said during a morning news conference in downtown LA. "We understand the frustrations and hardships faced by our fellow Angelenos — equally devastating has been on the impact on local businesses."
He added, "The closure disrupted operations and caused delivery delays affecting the livelihoods of business owners, who are at the heart and soul of our community, and quite frankly, the backbone of our local economy."
The Business Resource Center, located at 500 S. Central, is a "one-stop shop" for business owners to connect with different city and county departments, according to the councilman. It will be open until Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
De León urged local businesses impacted by the fire to come, stop by, share their stories and get the aid they might need. The councilman noted the city will consider extending the center for as long as possible, but it depends on the needs of the community.
The center will offer access to a range of resources, government agencies and representatives who can guide business owners in multiple languages.
"Whether the businesses need help filling out a Small Business Administration loan, learning how to apply for micro grants, making payment arrangements with LADWP or other services — we are able to do this right here," de León said.
The funding for the center is coming from de León's discretionary fund, according to Pete Brown, spokesperson for de Leon's office.
The councilman noted that he believes that businesses will be able to get back on their feet and the impact due to the fire will be mitigated.
A stretch of the freeway between Alameda Street and the East Los Angeles interchange, in de Leon's 14th Council District, closed on Nov. 11 following the massive blaze beneath the roadway. Arson is suspected.
The freeway reopened in time for Monday morning's commute — well ahead of the five-week closure time that was originally announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Estella Lopez, executive director of Downtown Industrial Business Improvement District, which represents more than 600 local businesses, said there are businesses that have struggled through the past week, losing 40% to 50% of their business.
Lopez described the area impacted by the fire as "all about goods movement."
She added, "There was an apron of impact and all of the streets that were congested ... 18-wheelers could not get product in or out. The purpose of the center is to put those businesses back on their feet that struggled so mightily last week."
Carol Parks, the general manager of the city's Emergency Management Department, expressed her gratitude to Newsom, Mayor Karen Bass, Caltrans and the city departments for their "incredible work and leadership" in the reopening of the 10 Freeway.
"Today's opening of the Business Resource Center is a result of our concern for our business community," Parks said.
She encouraged impacted business owners to also visit emergency.lacity.gov to see what documents they will need when they visit the center.
Carolyn Hull, general manager of the Economic and Workforce Development Department, also noted impacted business owners can apply for a microgrant at ewddlacity.com.
The opening of the resource center follows an emergency motion passed by the City Council last week that directed the Economic and Workforce Development Department to reach out to local businesses affected by the fire, the freeway closure and the associated street detours.
The department was also tasked with helping to identify local, state and federal resources to mitigate the impact.