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BID Highlights Progress in Westwood Village

Thursday's Westwood Business Improvement District meeting focuses on improvements made in the past months.

With months of street cleanup in Westwood Village behind them, Business Improvement District officials said the once-neglected community has taken a turn for the better.

An update on the state of the Westwood Business Improvement District (BID) was given Thursday at the nonprofit organization's .

"Prior to our formation … things weren’t so clean, safe and beautiful in our district," Westwood Village Improvement Association (WVIA) Executive Director Andrew Thomas said at the Thursday. "What is the district like today? I think it’s dramatically different."

Graffiti-covered walls, overgrown trees, trash-filled streets, and homelessness issues plagued Westwood Village, he said. But much has been done since the BID went to work.

"We led an initial assault on trash and graffiti in our district," he said.

Since October of last year, the WVIA has removed more than 400 graffiti tags and stickers, returned 587 shopping carts and completed 1,149 hours of sidewalk sweeping.

The BID has also worked with PATH, People Assisting The Homeless, to assist Westwood's homeless population. Seven chronically homeless individuals have accepted transitional housing services, Thomas said.

"It has been a long year," WVIA Chair Jessica Dabney said. "Everyone put in a lot of time and a lot of effort."

The BID now plans to tackle parking issues in Westwood Village by creating new signage to direct drivers to available parking. It will also look into the establishment of a parking district to ensure revenues remain in Westwood.

Sidewalk replacement, trash can refurbishment and additional tree lighting top a list of other projects in the works.

Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz said the community is "absolutely headed in the right direction."

"There are a lot of things we should be doing as a city that we don’t do, which makes this BID even more desperately needed," he said.

Thomas hopes the Westwood BID, which is up for renewal in 2013, will get a chance to continue its work in the Village.

"It’s important for us to be renewed so we can continue to capitalize on all of the hard work we’ve done so far," Thomas said.

Have you noticed changes in Westwood Village in the past months? Tell us in the comments section below.

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