Anne Cheek La Rose on Inglewood’s Renaissance and Waking the Sleeping Giant

Twenty six years ago, Anne Cheek-LaRose and her now late husband packed up their rent controlled apartment in Santa Monica to buy a home. Not sure where they were headed, their friend – a newly minted real estate agent – suggested Inglewood, at that time a widely unknown and underappreciated, but beautiful and neighborly pocket of greater LA, and incidentally the only place they could afford.

Now it would seem that Inglewood is finally getting its due, and not in small part as a result of Cheek La Rose’s contributions to her beloved city. Throughout the years she’s been involved in nearly every facet of the community we could imagine. Currently this wearer of many hats serves as Inglewood District 2 Arts Commissioner, the President of Inglewood’s Historic Preservation Society, part time District 2 Police Community Center Liaison and writes for Inglewood Today. Not to mention, she’s previously held the roles of Accident Investigator with the Inglewood Police, Parks and Recreation Coordinator and Monitor of the free summer lunch program. To say that Cheek La Rose is wholly invested in Inglewood’s best interests would be a severe understatement.

“There is tremendous pride among Inglewood residents,” said the activist and arts supporter when we caught up with her via phone at her District 2 Police Community Center post. “We are fiercely protective of our city, even on its worst days.”

The way Cheek La Rose sees it, Inglewood has loads of potential.

“Inglewood has been a forgotten community for 45-50 years. It has an extreme level of history, not just for the city but metro LA – and it’s been mostly hidden for all these years. It’s a blank canvas for development as long as it’s done mindfully, for the good of Inglewood, which is exactly what this administration has been doing,” Anne related.

In her role as President of the Historic Preservation Society, it is Anne’s mission to identify, save and repurpose historic structures in the city to retain its wealth of history. She has spent the last six years working to save the Fox Theater, and has succeeded in ensuring its place in the upcoming Market Street development. The theater will be restored to original 1949 glory according to national preservation guidelines, after being inducted in the National Registry of Historic Places in 2013.

Now Cheek La Rose’s efforts are focused on the care and safeguarding of an 127-year-old Morton Bay fig tree residing on the former property of city founder Daniel Freeman and the last existing direct link to Inglewood’s origins. She’s also closely involved and supportive of the new Hollywood Park since the news of the development broke on January 2nd.

“It’s a wonderful concept – and I love the fact that the sleeping giant of development has awakened in Inglewood,” said Anne. “It’s a wonderful thing but there needs to be safeguards put in place to ensure we don’t develop ourselves out of existence. We’ve been lucky with the current administration that no one’s crossed that line – so far, so good.”

Throughout her interactions with the community, Cheek La Rose has found that by and large, Inglewood residents are enthusiastic about the development coming to the city.

“Since the Hollywood Park press conference on January 10th, it’s been a part of the consciousness – the project has taken on a life of its own for the whole city.”

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