Exterior of the Wellness Center at the former Los Angeles County Hospital. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

The second of five community meetings to discuss the restoration and re-use of the iconic “General Hospital” building and the western portion of the LAC+USC Medical Center campus will be held Thursday in City Terrace.

The public is invited to attend and provide ideas and opinions on the “adaptive re-use” of the former County Hospital and surrounding available land, which county officials have said could be used to add affordable, low-income, and mixed-use housing to the area.

The meeting on Thursday, Sept. 19 from 6 to 8 pm at the City Terrace Park Community Room will be hosted by County Supervisor Hilda Solís and representatives from various county departments. Last year, the LA County Board of Supervisors unanimously passed Solís’ motion that allowed to conduct a feasibility study for the restoration and re-use of the hospital. 

At the time, the supervisor said that a repurposing of the building known for the use of its image on the “General Hospital” TV series could help resolve the area’s homelessness crisis. A first community meeting held in June in East Los Angeles was hosted by the Health Innovation Community Partnership, a group formed in 2017 between the County, the LAC+USC Medical Campus and community stakeholders.

Since then, the feasibility study has been expanded to include the western portion of the health campus “in response to feedback from residents and businesses,” according to a press release from Solís office.

While the release no longer mentions addressing the homelessness crisis, it points that the community meeting will “allow for discussion on how [re-use of the building] will help provide affordable housing options and an array of other resources for local families and communities to enhance their economic and overall well-being.”

“My vision of repurposing this iconic County asset at LAC+USC will be shaped by local residents who reside in the communities near this world-class medical campus,” Solís said in the release. “Engaging our local communities is at the heart of this process, as we begin establishing needed services that will promote wellness for future generations of community residents.”

The former county hospital has been a home to LAC + USC Foundation’s Wellness Center for 5 years. (Boyle Heights Beat students meet twice a week at the Wellness Center, thanks to the generosity of the Weingart East LA YMCA, one of the building’s tenants.)

While various community-based organizations occupy the building’s ground floor, the rest of the building is still vacant. The Art Deco style building, which opened in 1934, fell out of compliance of earthquake and fire safety codes following the 1994 Northridge earthquake. A new county hospital opened next to the historic building in 2008.

City Terrace Park is at 1126 N. Hazard Avenue, in the unincorporated county neighborhood of City Terrace. Dates and locations of future meetings have not been set. For more information contact Alex Villalobos at alex@barrioplanners.com or (323) 726-7734.

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Jacqueline Ramírez

Jacqueline Ramírez is a former reporter and recent graduate from Mount Saint Mary’s University. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and New Media. She enjoys sharing the art of storytelling...

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