LOS ANGELES — When Metro announced it would run its new Crenshaw/LAX line above ground, many nearby business owners feared this would be the end of their already struggling shops. But there's a major project underway that aims to bring some much-needed revitalization back to the area.
At the heart of Crenshaw are businesses such as Swift Cafe, where homestyle cooking is made with a lot of love.
But it's just one of several businesses that have been affected by the new LAX/Crenshaw Metro line under construction just down the street.
Chef Kyndra received so much positive feedback about one of her sauces that she's bottling it up to sell.
"It's a puree of, we roast habeneros, onion, garlic, carrots," she said.
Plus, a few other secret ingredients she won't divulge. It's just one of several things that sets Swift Cafe apart.
Kyndra was inspired to open this restaurant in the inner city to offer the same healthy options she loved cooking during her weight loss journey.
"A lot of times when you go to the inner city, the only thing available is fast food and things that are not healthy. While those things are nice every once in while I wanted people to see that you can have food that you like, you actually like and it's good for you," she explained.
But opening the cafe has been challenging and not just because it was right before the pandemic hit.
Kyndra said the Metro line under construction steps away didn't only delay her opening; it's still causing her to lose business.
As they build the train, crews shut down her entire street, and customers have nowhere to park.
It's why she and many other business owners were not happy when Metro first announced the project, many voicing their serious concerns at numerous city council meetings.
That's where Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson got involved. He said he started working to make the Metro construction worth it, in the long run, coming up with Destination Crenshaw. It will turn the train station into a 1.3-mile art and cultural corridor.
"If there's going to be a train running down Crenshaw Boulevard, there ought to be a purpose to it and we say the purpose is, it's an opportunity to tell our story to the entire world," Harris-Dawson said.
He showed where the park will be built to host shows and more than 100 art pieces from world-renowned artists, many of whom are from South LA.
The $100 million public and private project will be one of the biggest infrastructure updates the area has seen.
Kyndra calls it a Catch 22, but she's grateful to hear of the attraction that will come when it's finally finished by the end of next year.
"When you think about the future, you know that it's going to bring a lot of business and you're going to have a lot of customers, but the process has been rough," she said.
A process they hope will all be a distant memory when the spine of the Black community has a new look.
Destination Crenshaw is holding an open call for local artists to include their art in the open-air museum.