Congressman Brad Sherman presented a $1.2 million Federal funding check to the Armenian Cultural Foundation West San Fernando Valley chapter, which will use the funds for the renovation of an old fire house on Balboa Boulevard that will serve as an Armenian Center.
Community leaders and members gathered at the Ferrahian School’s Dickranian Hall to welcome Sherman, who had secured the funds in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget, which was signed by President Biden in December.
The check presentation became a turning pointing for the community center project, which 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.
Representatives of the local and regional boards of the Armenian National Committee of America-Western Region, the Armenian Relief Society, the Armenian Youth Federation, the Homenetmen and Hamazkayin, as well as Holy Martyrs Church Pastor Archpriest Rev. Razmig Khachadourian, board of trustees members and the school board and administration were joined by community members at the event on February 23.
During the short program, the Hamazkayin Dance Troupe performed several dances to enliven the evening, while speakers representing the local organizations thanked Sherman, Koretz and Martayan for their unwavering and continued support to ensure the project becomes a reality.
In his remarks, ACF West San Fernando Valley chair Garo Kamarian, Esq. thanked Sherman, Koretz and Martayan and announced that the blueprints for the renovation projects have been drawn and approved. He added that the center will operate as a senior center in the morning and serve the community in the evenings, when the community organizations will gather and hold their regular meetings and activities.
Kamarian explained that the project’s estimated cost is $1.4 million, adding that the Federal funding secured by Sherman covers the majority of the costs, however, more fundraising will be required to complete the renovations. He emphasized that contributing to the project is an investment in the future of the Armenian community and thus the Armenian Nation.
As a token of their appreciation, the members of the ACF West San Fernando Valley chapter presented a memento — Michael Aram’s Mount Ararat sculpture — to Martayan, who said that his family roots in the West San Fernando Valley area go back to when his grandfather served as one of the founders of the Holy Martyrs Church. He added that his father’s active involvement in the community made it a home for him and now his own children.
Before the evening’s program, Sherman sat down with Asbarez Editor Ara Khachatourian to discuss the upcoming center and the effort that went into the securing of the Federal funds for this project.
Sherman emphasized that his wish is to see the renovation of the center completed in a year’s time and said that he is looking forward to attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony.