WASHINGTON — Congressman Brad Sherman (D-Sherman Oaks) announced that he has secured $1.2 million in federal funds to renovate the historical fire station 83 building in Encino for use as a community center. The facility will serve the community as a hub for Armenian and community arts and cultural awareness, education, youth activities, adult day care activities, and a space for community meetings pursuant to a long-term lease granted by the City of Los Angeles last year to the Armenian Cultural Foundation.
“The construction of this center serves as a cultural and societal investment for the entire community,” said Congressman Sherman. “Through enrichment activities, including arts and educational programs and more, people of all ages will have a place to call home.”
After careful consideration, Rep. Sherman included the funds in the budget proposal in early December. The budget was signed by President Joe Biden at the end on last year.
A community center was envisioned over a decade ago by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz and Community Leader Greg Martayan. Also championed by former Mayor Eric Garcetti, current Council President Paul Krekorian, the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region and the Armenian Cultural Foundation’s West San Fernando Valley chapter, the project broke ground in December 2021.
At the groundbreaking ceremony in 2021, Mayor Garcetti said, “I look forward to this wonderful renovation as being a renaissance not just of Armenian culture but of Los Angeles, a city of belonging for all.”
Congressman Sherman added, “Since being elected to Congress in 1997, I have pushed for formal recognition of the Armenian Genocide, because we need to learn from the past so history does not repeat itself. The programming offered at this community center will provide education on that history, while also reminding everyone that Armenian arts and culture are thriving in the San Fernando Valley.
“The Armenian community of the San Fernando Valley is grateful to Congressman Brad Sherman, former City Councilmember Paul Koretz and our own Greg Martayan, without whom this grant would not have been possible,” commented ACF-West SFV chairman Garo Kamarian, Esq. “Through the diligent efforts of these dedicated public servants and the support of our community, it became possible to secure the funding for the renovation! On with the construction so we may service the needs of our elderly, our youth and our community to make this center a blessed place for all,” continued Kamarian.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been involved in facilitating Congressman Sherman’s support for the $1.2 million grant for the Center, which will be a tremendous cultural hub that began as an idea and discussion between former Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz and myself many years ago. Congressman Sherman continues to be a tremendous friend and ally of the Armenian Diaspora, as well as a staunch supporter of the arts and cultural awareness. Both Congressman Sherman and Former Councilmember Koretz have always prioritized making sure that every community in Los Angeles has a safe space to express who they are and where they hail from. The diverse fabric of our City and the cultural contributions of all peoples makes Los Angeles one of the best cities within which to live, work, learn, and play,” stated Fmr. Director of Public Safety and Special Assignments Greg Martayan.
“The ANCA Western Region is grateful to Congressman Brad Sherman and former Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Koretz for their vision and perseverance in facilitating the acquisition and funding for this vital ACF community center. City Council President Paul Krekorian and former Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti were also champions of this project from the beginning, and we were gratified to work closely with all of them over a period of years to bring this to fruition. With this generous congressional grant of funds just one year after the groundbreaking ceremony, the Armenian community in the San Fernando Valley will soon be able to fully enjoy the new ACF center,” stated ANCA-WR Chair Nora Hovsepian, Esq.