Left to right cutting the ribbon to open the South Paseo are Clara Behrens (Chamber) Rochelle Margolin (City Economic Development Specialist), Councilmember Mary Ann Krause, Mayor Rick Cook, Councilmember Ray Luna, Steve Stuart, Building and Safety Director, and Theresa Kiernan, Building and Safety Photo by Don Johnson

South Paseo: Access to Main Street parking

October 11, 2006
Santa Paula News
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesThe South Paseo was opened Tuesday at 926 E. Main St., a project that turned a former plumbing building into a navigable warm welcome to the Downtown shopping district. South Paseo offers Main Street access from South Alley, with the rear entrance area offering public restrooms and water fountains.Farther inside is an open patio area that Mupu Grill, the Paseo’s immediate neighbor to the east, plans to utilize for alfresco dining, said Mupu Partner Don Olivier. “We plan to put a door in the grill” near the kitchen that will offer easy access for both customers and Mupu staff.The patio - decorated with a potted palm - could also be the scene of art shows.“It’s still a little rough around the edges,” with some finishing touches still being completed, noted Norm Wilkinson, the city’s former public works director, “but it looks good.”“What a beautiful Paseo! It has a lot of possibilities... it’s lovely,” said Donna Stewart, the owner of the Santa Paula Inn.The South Paseo Project is the realization of a “keystone project of the city’s 1996 Downtown Plan,” said Mayor Rick Cook. In 2004 when the plan was revised, the City Council directed staff to complete the project first envisioned when the city’s Redevelopment Agency purchased the building about a decade before.Building & Safety Director Steve Stuart said that the 3,126 square foot building has been carved into sections, including the now open Galeria Zapatista, 229 square feet of vacant office space and restrooms. The Spanish influenced design includes arched doorways and decorative tile flooring. Ramps allow easy access from the rear of the building to South Alley parking.
Stuart noted that the city would reutilize leftover space, such as the half-basement, for storage, an area that will be easily accessible once the elevator - which has been in the building for decades - is repaired.Aside from Cook, Vice Mayor Ray Luna and Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause also inspected the building during the grand opening, a project that has “come out just as planned,” noted Cook.Parking lots will be reconfigured to offer better access to the Paseo noted Stuart.The project cost a total of $729,000, funded by the Redevelopment Agency, CDBG and from leftover city administrative fees collected from the FEMA seismic retrofit program. The RDA and Economic Development departments will operate the South Paseo.The $12,000 annual budget will provide regular maintenance, and the Santa Paula Police Department will be installing surveillance cameras. City staff will open the South Paseo each morning, and Galeria Zapatista will close the building at dusk.

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