“Doctor Gene Kim Square” Established

Dr. Gene Kim of Koreatown LA

Tenth district councilman Herb J. Wesson Jr. has successfully pushed through a motion for the city of Los Angeles to honor Dr. Gene Kim and name the intersection at Olympic Boulevard and Vermont Avenue as “Dr. Gene Kim Square.”

The motion includes directing the Department of Transportation to erect a permanent ceremonial sign at the location that identifies it as “Dr. Gene Kim Square.”

Here is the biographical note included in the motion:

Dr. Gene H. Kim was born on September 29, 1933, in the city of Pyongyang to a prominent and well-respected family at a time of Japanese occupation of the Korean peninsula.

Upon arriving in the US in 1968, Dr. Kim initially worked various odd jobs to support his family and in 1971 he opened a small bookstore on Olympic Boulevard between Kingsley and Harvard Avenues called “Korean Book Center.”

The following year horizon founded the Koreatown Development Association and in 1974 under his leadership the Koreatown Development Association staged its first “Koreatown Festival and Parade.”

Dr. Kim was also instrumental in the campaign for English-Korean dual language signs on businesses in Koreatown, the locating of CSULA Koreatown extension classes to teach English to first generation Korean immigrants, the designation of “Korea Day” by the City of Los Angeles, the official designation of the “Koreatown” area of ​​Los Angeles as well as the adoption of the Koreatown Specific Plan, the establishment of the first LAPD Koreatown sub-station, and the installation of a Koreatown sign on the Santa Monica Freeway.

On May 24, 1984, Dr. Gene H. Kim recognized in the Congressional Record in recognition of his many outstanding contributions and accomplishments for the benefit of people of Los Angles and for exemplifying outstanding leadership as a Korean American community leader of Southern California.

Dr. Kim also served for 18 years as a member of the Los Angeles County Commission on Aging, and as a commissioner on the Los Angeles Police Permit Review Panel for 13 years.

There have, no doubt, been many leaders who have lent their capable leadership, unyielding passion, extraordinary vision and outstanding talents in making all the achievements of Koreatown and the Korean American community of Los Angeles. However, Dr. Gene Kim uniquely stands alone for being a constant and unceasing leader and a guiding presence for the past 40 years from the very beginning in 1972.

In recognition of Dr. Gene Kim’s remarkable service to the community, and in marking this year the 40th anniversary of founding the Koreatown Festival and Parade, it is appropriate that the City honor him by naming the intersection at Olympic Boulevard and Vermont Avenue as “Dr. Gene Kim Square.”

Wesson’s presented motion was seconded by Mitch O’Farrell and red-stamped on August 23, 2013.

UPDATE: The sign was put up by the DOT and the commemorating ceremony was held on October 1, 2014.

Koreatown News: LA 한인타운 발전에 초석이 된 김진형 박사가 한인 1세로는처음 그 이름을 LA 번화가에 남기게 되어 한인 후세들의 산 교육 현장으로 등장하게 됐다