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LOS ANGELES-Two government agencies have agreed to provide a total of $890,000 to help build a long-delayed movie theater and film-training complex in Watts, one of this city’s most economically depressed neighborhoods.

Plans for the $15-million facility have been floating around for years, but have been delayed by funding and site-location problems. Current plans for the project, which would be coordinated by the nonprofit Watts Cinema and Education Center, would place the complex on a city-owned parcel near the Metro Blue Line station.

The new funding comes through a $650,000-grant from the US Economic Development Administration and a $240,000-award from the LA Community Redevelopment Agency. It pushes the total amount raised for the project to $4 million, enough to complete the architectural design for the 35,000-sf, two-story complex.

Barbara Stanton, executive director of the Watts Cinema and Education Center, says that completing the architectural design will make it easier to raise additional monies to move the project forward. The awards from the federal government and CRA mark “a critical milestone in the planning process for an important community resource,” she adds.

The film-training complex would provide important job skills for area residents, supporters of the project say, while the movie complex would be the first to rise in Watts in three decades. Currently, residents in the neighborhood must drive several miles to surrounding cities in order to see a first-run film.

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