April 7th, 2013 marks a monumental day as the Thai Community Development Center unveils the first pair of Kinarra Lamp Post Monuments on Hollywood and Hobart Blvds. The almost five foot tall statues erected to a 17 foot tall lamppost arrived in Los Angeles on March 5th. These mythical figures represent the latest effort by Thai CDC to help boost cultural tourism and consequently help provide additional momentum in the effort to make the world’s only Thai Town a signature destination spot in Los Angeles.
The $30,000 pair of statues represent the coordinated efforts between Thai CDC and the Royal Thai Consulate General who in their generosity provided funding for the statues as well as coordinated the transportation from Thailand. The gift from the Royal Thai Consulate General signifies the bond that Bangkok shares with Los Angeles. (Los Angeles is home to the largest population of Thais outside of Thailand and this year marks the 180th year of friendship between the two countries). The long-term vision of this project is to connect the Apsonsis, which stand guard at the beginning and end of Thai Town much like the dragons in Chinatown, with signature lamp posts that highlight Thai Town.
The project has involved an approval process from various city government entities. They include: Cultural Affairs Commission, Department of Cultural Affairs, the LA Public Works Department Bureau of Engineering and Bureau of Street Lighting, the City of LA Urban Forestry Department and Department of Transportation. The effort included coordinating and obtaining the necessary permits and approvals among the various government agencies which can be a lengthy and complex task. Thai CDC was able to obtain the approval needed in a relatively short amount of time due to the support from local city officials who recognize the benefit of the beautification process as well as the urgency towards erecting the lamp posts in time for the official unveiling of the symbols of unity between Bangkok and Los Angeles on Thai New Year’s Day Songkran Festival, April 7th.