The Los Angeles sun casts a dark shadow over the community of Inglewood

By Jack Savage
Medill Reports

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Not even 48 hours after the Super Bowl ended, the glitz and glamor of the circus event was long gone. The streets were barren, littered only with rubbish, giving off an eerie ghost town vibe. For a week, Inglewood, California was the epicenter of the sports world, with SoFi Stadium shining under the spotlight. The NFL and the city pulled out all the bells and whistles for the Super Bowl on Sunday, lining the streets and the city with pop-up shops, new signage and constant trash crews keeping it spotless.

From the outside, it looks like any city hosting the Super Bowl would be lucky, boosting its economy and creating hundreds of jobs for the community. However, looking deeper and listening to what the residents of Inglewood had to say about the impact of this year’s game and the overall impact of the construction of SoFi Stadium in their neighborhood, it paints a very different picture. .

“To be honest, well, I wasn’t really thinking about the game,” said Lennox-Inglewood Tenants Union member Rick Foard. “I was thinking more about the long-term negative effect the stadium has on the community.

“For example, the average rent in Inglewood has gone from $1,100 in January 2016, when the NFL approved the Rams’ move from St. Louis to Los Angeles, to $1,715 today, according to Zumper. Yes, it’s true that home values ​​have also gone up, but you don’t realize that if you’re not a homeowner. Ultimately, tenants in the community were devastated. There is rent control now, but it took four years to put in place.

Foard rolled his eyes when asked if he would like the Super Bowl to be held in SoFi again.

“No,” he said. “It’s just a show, with a lot of richness.”

Foard wasn’t the only one to share negative feelings about the effects SoFi has had on the Inglewood community. Juan Estrada, a neighborhood resident for 16 years, took aim at the NFL and the city, saying they had just “put lipstick on a pig,” during the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.

“Don’t be fooled,” Estrada said. “Inglewood is a very poor neighborhood. Before the Super Bowl, they obviously wanted to spruce it up, so there was a lot of construction everywhere. Things were going up, like signs and stores, and they were making Inglewood look like something it wasn’t.

“For me personally, I would consider building SoFi an inconvenience because I’ve had a lot of friends who had to move to Arizona or Victorville because they just couldn’t afford to live here anymore. See people with who you grew up in this community moving, it really sucks.

The side effects took a toll on the community, but even in the short term, especially on Super Bowl day, some residents wanted nothing to do with the game.

“I wanted to stay away from my neighborhood on Super Bowl day,” said Stella Diaz, who lives across the street from the stadium. “I knew the traffic was going to be terrible, and the streets weren’t exactly equipped enough to handle it all. Space was so limited that we even had people selling parking spaces along our streets, ranging from $250 to $300. It was crazy, and it wasn’t something I wanted to be a part of.

As the sun shone on SoFi Stadium during Super Bowl week, residents could only shake their heads. The temporary bandage was slapped on the neighborhood as the stars strolled, but Foard saw through it.

“There are jobs that have come out of it, but in terms of pay and sustainability, we’ll see,” Foard said, shaking his head. “Now are there people who are excited about it? Sure. There are entrepreneurs who are happy about it, but there are also entrepreneurs who had to sell their establishments because they couldn’t make any money. And don’t even get me started on the traffic, it’s horrible.

“Hand-picked businesses, presumably attached to the mayor, have seen NFL business come to town,” said Melissa Hébert, editor and founder of Inglewood-based small business 2UrbanGirls. “However, countless residents have been displaced due to the lack of rent control, which was only put in place after a push from the community.”

The impact of the Super Bowl on a city is generally positive, as civic boosters estimate the impact to be between $300 million and $400 million. However, how much of this does the Inglewood community see? Those who really need it and can benefit from it have either moved out as Estrada alluded to or, as Foard suggested, will simply be passed over in favor of wealthier residents as Inglewood’s gentrification proceeds. continues.

About Jefferey G. Cannon

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