The City of Hawthorne is proud to ring in another great year of innovative programs, memorable events and exciting initiatives. Read on to learn about a few of our City’s standout moments throughout 2023.
“From exciting celebrations to innovative programs, the accomplishments of the past year reflect the collaborative spirit of our City of Good Neighbors,” said City Manager Vontray Norris. “As we look ahead, our dedication to fostering a vibrant, inclusive and thriving City remains strong as we take the leap into 2024.'”
Celebrating Our Community
During the summer, the City launched diverse family-friendly programs, including Movies in the Park, aquatic programs, sports clinics and arts-based classes, providing a well-deserved break for Hawthorne families. In June, the City hosted a vibrant Juneteenth celebration at Holly Park, highlighting the historical significance of Juneteenth and promoting unity within the community.
The first-ever Skates in the Park event at Memorial Park brought joy to over 350 attendees, fostering community connections through the distribution of approximately 500 pairs of skates. And, in August, the National Night Out event at Memorial Park strengthened community bonds, bringing together residents, businesses, schools and organizations.
September featured another roster of significant events, such as a 9/11 Memorial Ceremony, our 3rd Annual World Festival, celebrating Hawthorne’s diversity, and a Household Hazardous Waste Event dedicated to responsible waste disposal. We also celebrated the sixth anniversary of our partnership with the Dodgers Dreamteam program, which continues to serve over 300 children across the City. Additionally, we welcomed autumn with our Halloween Spooktacular event and Halloween Home Decorating Contest, which provided spine-tingling fun for the community.
Throughout the year, we were proud to celebrate these events, milestones and more across the City’s social media platforms. So far in 2023, we’ve gained over 1,500 followers across Facebook, Instagram, and X (formerly known as Twitter). This year, we’ve increased our number of posts by 40%, giving our community more opportunities to learn about City resources and connect with each other. Additionally, we’ve invested in creating accessible video content, resulting in a 250% increase in video views across social media platforms.
Expanding Resources for People Experiencing Homelessness
This year, we took steps to address homelessness. The Bridge of Hope Community Housing development celebrated successful occupancy of all 12 pallet homes, offering interim shelter to unhoused individuals. We also launched our Unhoused to Work Program. In collaboration with the South Bay Workforce and Investment Board, the program provided training, job support and paid work experience to 20 participants, supporting unhoused individuals in the job search.
Prioritizing Public Safety
In 2023, the Hawthorne Police Department (HPD) continued its tradition of innovative policing with the expansion of specialized programs. HPD introduced a Therapy K9 program, transitions to bloodhounds for tracking and implemented a Tactical Medicine program, ensuring officers are trained in trauma care. HPD, in partnership with the Hawthorne School District, implemented a crosswalk program to ensure the safety of Hawthorne’s students throughout the school day. Additionally, the Bicycle Patrol Unit (BPU) and drone program enhanced community engagement and response capabilities.
Sprucing Up Our Public Spaces
Various City improvements were made, including modernizing the City Council Chambers, securing $4.1 million funding for the Crenshaw Boulevard Improvement Project and installing electric vehicle charging stations in several locations across the City. We also completed enhancements of parks and recreational spaces, including the opening of the Memorial Dog Park, conversion of tennis courts into pickleball courts, creation of a community garden at Holly Park and construction of a sound wall near Glasgow Park.
We also launched the MyHawthorne311 app to simplify access to City Hall services. This mobile citizen engagement app allows residents to report issues, ask questions, and monitor resolutions conveniently. In October, we also unveiled innovative designs for a new City Hall, which prioritize modernity, sustainability, and community engagement. The City’s architectural centerpiece will feature contemporary aesthetics, LEED Certification for eco-friendliness, and community spaces, including a public hall, retail and restaurant areas and a park for events.
Supporting Local Organizations and Businesses
To support local organizations, the City initiated a non-profit grant program, distributing $150,000 to critical community service providers. Recipients included the Historical Society, Hawthorne Parks and Rec Foundation and Hawthorne School District.
The City also introduced initiatives to spur economic growth and aid local businesses, such as Hawthorne Small Business Assistance, Small Business Rental Assistance, Community eGift Card and Business Connect. Leveraging American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, the Small Business Assistance program includes a Small Business Bootcamp and various a la carte options for business support. The Business Connect initiative simplifies local permitting processes, conducts informative workshops and fosters networking opportunities, while the Hawthorne Community eGift Card program encourages local spending with added City contributions.
For more information about 2023’s programs, events, and initiatives, please visit the City of Hawthorne’s official website at https://www.cityofhawthorne.org.
For more information about these events and updates, please visit the City of Hawthorne’s website at www.cityofhawthorne.org or contact the Community Services Department at (310) 349-1640.