Visits for Downtown Implementation Plan launched

September 23, 2011
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula’s historic Central Business District will again be the site of a study visit to update the Downtown Implementation Plan and see how to meld the old with the new commercial areas that eventually will be a part of Limoneira Company’s East Area 1 development.

According to Planning Director Janna Minsk, “Approximately 20 students and their two professors from the city and Regional Planning Department at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo will be in Santa Paula” Friday, September 23, to “kick off” a school assignment. The students will be focusing their efforts in the historic Santa Paula Downtown area, and Minsk said at the end of their two-quarter design studio class, the city would be provided “with ideas/concepts to update the ‘Downtown Implementation Plan’ completed in 2004.”

Over the next few months, Minsk said the students would be taking photos, meeting with “various city leaders, civic groups and survey community desires for the downtown. This is a very exciting opportunity for our community to refresh the Downtown Plan, gain input from the community on what they desire to see in their downtown and ensure that Santa Paula maintains a thriving downtown as East Area 1 comes on line.”

City Manager Jaime Fontes said the effort would last about six months and include working with area businesses, merchants, Chamber of Commerce, school districts and citizens “to determine what they would like to see happen.” The update - which has a May 2012 target date - is “not just to update the previous plan, but to help the community create a vision of what the Downtown will be” in light of the new 25-acre commercial center that will be created in East Area 1.

Fontes said those participating in the update will be asked “What would you like to see the downtown become... would you like to see it become old town Santa Paula, a historic district with fine gift shops and restaurants with an emphasis on the culture and museums we have here? The timing,” or such a transformation “seems to be right as we get out of the financial doldrums and have to offer our new recreational bike trail and the farm museum... and we’ve got that grant to enhance Highway 150/10th Street” from Highway 126 to Santa Paula Street.

Fontes said, “I am hoping all members of the community, when you see the students, that you interact with this group as much as possible and provide them with your own vision of what you would like to see.” The project, he added, has a “minimal” cost of less than $6,000.

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