Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Downtown Revitalization

I kind of chuckled when I saw the phrase "downtown revitalization" used in both of these articles. Granted, I am excited about the fact that the city is intentionally setting out to liven up the Mission West district. But I previously lived in Houston, where revitalization meant a radical overhaul of the downtown area: a new light rail, new streets, numerous buildings refurbished and occupied, and an upsurge of lofts and nightlife in the area. In other words, truly new life in a largely dead and abandoned area.

One thing I was impressed by is that the city sent out a questionnaire asking residents about what developments they would like to see in town. I don't remember getting this, although I quite easily could have overlooked it or thought it was junk mail. 1,000 people did reply so it seems that the city has a strong community voice to take into account on the matter. I guess I'm impressed because they apparently didn't just hand over the whole project to an outside developer.

I am no expert on the matter. I guess I'm thinking out loud and trying to get a better grasp on community planning issues with the hope that one day I might settle in South Pasadena. One of the articles mentioned that most of the businesses on Mission are currently family-owned. As much as I would appreciate new amenities nearby, I hope that the city is careful not to completely turn over the dowtown area to corporate interests.

Here is the city's website devoted to the future of downtown South Pas. I haven't had a chance to read the official Framework for Downtown Development, which seems to clearly outline the city's plans. The website emphasizes the city's desire for the community to be involved every step of the way:
A crucial part of this process is community participation. The Commission is committed to creating opportunities for public involvement so that anyone who wants to learn more about or provide feedback to the process can do so.


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