MID-CITY : Pico Merchants Form Improvement Group

Merchants along Pico Boulevard have launched a new community improvement group to erase the blight in the area.

The Pico Business Watch, formed last month, involves merchants along Pico Boulevard between Arlington Avenue and Crenshaw Boulevard, an area that sustained heavy damage in the 1992 riots.

The merchants' main goal is to make the commercial corridor a safer and more attractive place for local residents to shop. Some of their plans include working with the city to remove the graffiti and excessive litter that plagues the area, as well as improving lighting in and around stores in hopes of discouraging thefts and break-ins.

"Lots of businesses were destroyed around here" in the riots, said Brenda Watson, co-owner of the Las Delicias restaurant, a Guatemalan eatery that opened in late 1992. "A lot of people moved out, and there were lots of abandoned buildings and vacant lots. This area is just now starting to come back."

Watson, a native of Guatemala, spent the last few months organizing neighboring merchants, many of whom recently reopened their businesses or, like herself, are new to the area.

A meeting of the merchants on Monday will be at 8 a.m. at Las Delicias restaurant, 3731 W. Pico Blvd. Spanish- and Korean-speaking interpreters will be available.

Information: (213) 731-6995.

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