By Karen Robes Meeks, Staff Writerpresstelegram.com
05/21/2012 08:08:56 PM PDT
LONG BEACH -- City Councilman Gary DeLong and Don Caldwell, development project manager of Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network, will be guest speakers for today's meeting with the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance.
Admission is $12 and includes a buffet lunch prepared by Moon Dance Catering of Long Beach.
For news and updates, go to www.easba.com.
- Karen Robes Meeks
Working to create a business improvement district in Cambodia Town
By Greg Mellen Staff Writerpresstelegram.com
April 26, 2012 3:15 AM
LONG BEACH - Richer San walks to a file cabinet and pulls open a file drawer overstuffed with reports, surveys and studies that represent years spent working to create Cambodia Town in Long Beach and, more important, set up a business improvement district along Anaheim Street.
In July, Cambodia Town Inc., will celebrate its fifth anniversary, but San and his volunteer group are only about halfway through their efforts to get 235 of 470 businesses along the busy commercial corridor to commit to the business improvement district, or BID.
The formation of BIDs and property-based improvement districts, or PBIDs, was the topic of discussion at a Town Hall presented by the 6th Council District Office on Tuesday at McBride Park in the Central Area.
The districts provide a way for businesses and/or property owners to collaborate to fund business and neighborhood improvement and activities. A nonprofit board of directors levies a fee on properties and pays for those projects. The city must approve the districts, but is not involved in operations and doesn't receive money.
The districts have been successful in areas of Long Beach such as downtown, Bixby Knolls and Belmont Shore, officials say.
"We would like to see something in our district like we see in downtown," said Councilman Dee Andrews at the meeting.
John Edmond, chief of staff for Andrews, said he can envision a number of BIDs and PBIDs that could form and eventually transform the Central Area.
It was standing room only at the EASBA (East Anaheim Street Business Alliance) monthly luncheon meeting on March 27th at the Long Beach Playhouse. Local business owners and history buffs alike were given an in-depth presentation on Zaferia - a little-known corner of East Long Beach.
After months of research, Maureen Neely, local historian and owner of HouStories, gave those in attendance a fascinating peek into the rich history of a community (almost incorporated city) known as Zaferia. Dating back to the turn of the 19th century, Zaferia was settled by independent farmers and ranchers who were not interested in the "big city" life of Long Beach proper.
The name "Zaferia" has been credited as a Spanish word meaning "little village," but no dictionary supports that theory.
Many factors went into the formation of Zaferia, including rugged individuals with a strong desire to prosper and a well-established transportation system (Pacific Electric Red Cars).
"Maureen took us on a fascinating historical tour of an area I have lived and worked in for decades, but I had no idea of the extent of what came before", stated EASBA Boardmember Jan Ward. "The dedication and exhaustive research Maureen put into this project was evident in her outstanding presentation. She knocked it out of the park!", she added.
From its humble beginnings as vast rancho lands to the thriving economic and residential center of today, the Zaferia area of Long Beach will always be a big part of the history of Southern California. The EASBA Board of Directors would like to thank Maureen for her expertise and hard work in helping us tell our story. The story of Zaferia.
To learn more about the Zaferia story, go to www.zaferia.com.
East Anaheim Street Revives Zaferia History
By Ashleigh Oldland
March 28, 2012
Merchants in the East Anaheim Street Business Alliance continue to make steps towards increasing the historical knowledge and neighborhood branding in the district.
EASBA President Rod Wilson said the business district — which became an official Long Beach Business Improvement District in July 2010 to support the more than 500 businesses along Anaheim Street from Pacific Coast Highway to Junipero Avenue — is ramping up its efforts to educate the community about what once was known as the Zaferia District.
“Most people don’t pay attention to this part of East Long Beach while they are just driving through, but bringing out some of the history about this area is really bringing it to life and giving the area an identity and giving people a reason to want to learn more about it and appreciate its history and how that history has translated to modern-day businesses,” Wilson explained.
More than a hundred Zaferia District banners were hung on light poles along East Anaheim Street last year, and Wilson said the business district is planning to unveil two new, permanent Zaferia District signs within the coming month at the intersections of Anaheim Street and Junipero Avenue and Anaheim Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
Additionally, Wilson worked with a local historian and librarian, Maureen Neeley, who researched the Zaferia District and has helped publish a flyer for the business alliance. That flyer is available at area businesses or online. Wilson said he hopes the business alliance will be able to offer historical tours in the future.
“Anaheim Street is one of the oldest and longest streets in south Los Angeles County — we have more than 100 years of history in the East Long Beach area,” Wilson said.
There wasn’t a lot of information available about the Zaferia District before Neeley started delving into old newspaper clippings and archives at the Long Beach Public Library and Long Beach’s ranchos, she said.
“People told me that they would Google ‘Zaferia,’ and there wasn’t much there,” Neeley said. “Not everything is on Google, and that is why we still need research and libraries. I did some research on my own and sent it to business owners and it sort of snowballed… The EASBA hired me to do this and it gave me the luxury of going to sources that I hadn’t gone to before. I found archives that hadn’t seen the light of day in decades.”
According to Neeley’s research, the name “Zaferia” is still a mystery. But, what is known is that Zaferia started out as a small village outside Long Beach’s city limits. It was used by Mexican farm hands for Rancho Los Alamitos and was sprinkled with small cottages and fields of mustard and sugar beets. In 1904, Henry Huntington laid tracks for the Pacific Electric Rail Road (Red Cars) through the area, with a stop at “Zaferia Station” on Anaheim Road and Redondo Avenue.
Zaferia Depot was a popular place to take a ride on a Red Car or stop for an alcoholic beverage at a number of pool halls, cafes and wineries. Later, the quiet farm lots were transformed into a commercial corridor — by 1913, there were several grocery stores, churches, a drug store and post office in addition to lumber mills, construction firms and blacksmiths.
On Labor Day in 1920, Zaferia was incorporated into Long Beach; the Zaferia Depot and Zaferia Library signs were replaced, and Zaferia truly became East Long Beach.
Wilson said that learning the history of East Anaheim Street has been more exciting for the business alliance than was ever initially expected. He said the history can be used to make connections to the current day businesses on the street and he said the history is really bringing East Anaheim Street to life.
“This highlights that this is a neighborhood and a place for small businesses, and it always has been,” he said.
For details about the Zaferia District, including online photo galleries, detailed history and information about the EASBA, visit www.Zaferia.com.