HISTORIC FILIPINOTOWN - In recognition of Philippine Independence Day, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell unveiled the renderings for the forthcoming Historic Filipinotown Eastern Gateway Project, a long-awaited milestone in the Filipino American community that will serve as a welcome to this officially designated neighborhood in the City of Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles region is home to over half a million Filipinos, the largest population outside the Philippines. This gateway serves to honor Filipino heritage, and is just one of the many projects that Councilmember O’Farrell has worked on with local residents to improve the quality of life and cultural visibility in the neighborhood.
“This project represents a continuation of creating landmarks celebrating the diversity of the 13th District and the City,” said Councilmember O’Farrell of the gateway. “Once completed later this year, Historic Filipinotown will have a permanent reminder that showcases the beauty and storied history of the Filipino community. I’m proud to have partnered with Commissioner Jessica Caloza, Bureau of Engineering, one of the great Filipino artists of our time Eliseo Art Silva, and community members who have contributed their efforts, creativity, and ideas toward this soon-to-be point of pride for the neighborhood.”
After years of planning, conversations with the community accelerated this past year: Meetings and webinars were held with non-profit organizations, community leaders, small businesses, and neighbors that culminated in the proposed design.
“The key to building and enhancing the beautiful neighborhood we all know as Historic Filipinotown has always been community. The community has worked hard and was committed to bringing the Eastern Gateway to life, and with Councilmember O’Farrell’s leadership, we are finally making it happen,” said Commissioner Jessica Caloza. “Being the first historic cultural designation in the U.S. for the Filipino American community means so much to us in Los Angeles. As a first generation Filipina American, I am proud to see us celebrate and recognize our diversity and continue building it into the fabric of our City.”
In 2018, Councilmember O’Farrell initially committed $152,000 for the Eastern Gateway Project, however he identified additional funding through cost savings on another project. O’Farrell committed a total of $452,000 for this landmark.
This project is part of a larger plan, in collaboration with the Board of Public Works, to improve the 1st Street Bridge with a seismic retrofit and lane enhancements. The Eastern Gateway pays tribute to both the legacy and the bright future of the Filipino American community in the City of Los Angeles.
"My heartfelt gratitude to the City of Los Angeles and our esteemed Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell, the indefatigable collaboration with our Historic Filipinotown community organizations and neighbors, and the Department of Public Works through the invaluable leadership of Commissioner Jessica Caloza for giving us that rare opportunity to honor our Filipino American heroes and their stories,” said Silva. “This magnificent new gateway will welcome everyone to Historic Filipinotown. It’s a fitting tribute to the many courageous men and women on the frontlines - brave warriors such as our numerous Filipino healthcare workers. The Gateway not only signals that Filipino Americans have finally arrived, -- it also symbolizes the valor of the frontliners in our city.”
Silva says the name is fitting - ‘Talang Gabay: Our Guiding Star’. The design elements include: the Parol, the Gumamela flower, and the Sarimanok, all symbols with deep roots in the Filipino culture. The proposed location of the Eastern Gateway will span across Beverly Boulevard, near the Philippine mural at Unidad Park, also painted by Eliseo Silva.
Since being sworn into office, Councilmember O’Farrell has worked to improve the Historic Filipinotown community: he championed a street light and bus stop improvement project; he identified funding to improve pedestrian safety along Beverly Boulevard; he partnered with community groups and the Los Angeles Department of Transportation to slow traffic and improve the infrastructure for all users of Temple Street.