Main Street and downtown redevelopment reenergized

February 05, 2003
Santa Paula City Council
By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula TimesMain Street and downtown redevelopment will be reenergized with a new focus on implementation, City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz told the City Council at the Jan. 21st meeting.The presentation was culled from over a decade of studies and plans that Bobkiewicz studied since he joined the city in October.Main Street is a top priority, “a critical element” that the city will continue to support through adoption and implementation of the Business Improvement District.And, although “I shouldn’t have to be talking about this, I was literally shocked to discover what I found on the streets and parking lots,” including trash, abandoned vehicles, broken glass and other debris.The city is now providing “daily cleaning and upkeep on Main Street,” adjacent alleys and parking lots utilizing new equipment.“An active community policing program,” will bring a cop to the Main Street beat “every day, six days a week. It’s important to have a regular street police presence,” using existing department resources.Merchants using sidewalk receptacles, “not only illegal but unacceptable” will be identified and required to sign up for paid city or commercial service.Bobkiewicz said active code enforcement, building restoration programming including design guidelines, development standards, and a facade improvement program, will be implemented.The city-owned former plumbing building will be recreated as a paseo and the Tower Theater will be renovated - “It’s important to move forward with these,” said Bobkiewicz - and an enhanced streetscape plan, including banners and landscaping, will be developed and implemented, as will Green Street Plaza and park development plans.
“I told staff these [Main Street plans] are my number one priorities,” said Bobkiewicz, who offered specific timelines for completion.A staff implementation committee has already been meeting on the different facets of the plan, which includes downtown redevelopment efforts such as new directional signage, Railroad Plaza program and other special events plan and investigating tram-shuttle service to serve the Depot and Santa Paula Airport.“I believe you can do it and I’m real happy and proud,” said Councilman Ray Luna.Councilwoman Mary Ann Krause suggested that the tram-shuttle service be online for the “peak of tourism season.”Vice Mayor Gabino Aguirre noted that the “cops on the beat are really great for community relations and downtown merchants; it provides an imagery of safety in the area most visible to others.” He questioned if lack of city action in the past was due to funding or council nonsupport. “I don’t understand why some of the code enforcement was not taken care of. . .”Councilman Rick Cook asked that code enforcement also explore merchants “living at their businesses. . .”“You did a great job with adopting this plan,” said Mayor John Procter, and offering the “flexibility to shape and reshape as we go along.”Aguirre suggested that the council wait until community visioning is completed before adopting the plan, but Krause noted that the plans had been crafted by previous councils with community input and should now be implemented.

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