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Museums could fill vacant aisles

AFTER reading “Too Many Treasures” [by Diane Haithman, Dec. 27] in Calendar and “Retail Store Closures to Follow Sales” [by Jerry Hirsch and Leslie Earnest] in the Business section the same day, I came up with a solution: Use the empty stores for museums. (This is not a new idea; years ago, LACMA turned a former May Co. building into a museum.)

Three ideal locations for stores listed in the article as most likely to close in 2006 that could be turned into a museum:

(1) The Sears store on Santa Monica and Western: a densely populated community in Hollywood, with tremendous pedestrian activity and three major MTA bus lines but no museums or other major arts establishment. The community would be greatly served by LACMA’s NexGen program.

(2) The Levitz Home Furnishings on San Fernando Road, between the cities of Glendale and Los Angeles. The site offers lots of space and plenty of parking.

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(3) The Robinsons-May at the Eagle Rock Plaza. Unlike the two sites listed above, which are free-standing and could be used for housing or other nonretail development, the Robinsons-May is located in a mall and would be unsuitable for other development besides retail, restaurants or museums.

This plan would not eliminate jobs (museums, like stores, need to be staffed) and would bring more visitors (and their money) to the communities, thus helping local retail and restaurants, as well as the city and county tax coffers.

I know what many of you may be thinking, that this will lead to gentrification. Yes, maybe. But this way, instead of overpriced housing and high-end retail establishment built by developers with no regard to what the people in these communities need, we will have art and history. Visitors will leave enlightened, their head full of inspiration, instead of their arms full of more “stuff.”

And for those who feel compelled to shop, museums have gift stores.

DORIT DOWLER-GUERRERO

Silver Lake


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