By Roger Gitlin – April 2, 2021
As a City resident and retired County supervisor, I have long-lobeyed for a renaissance of our downtown community and District 1 downtown which I represented. My pleas for beautification through programs like Pride in Community and Take a Bite out of Blight, attracting hundreds of phenomenal volunteers has NOT been embraced by either the City Council or the Board of Supervisors. Petty politics…
Result: Vacant streets, disappearing stores, a fair share of graffiti and trash and a growing population of folks pushing around stolen shopping carts. No one wants to see this. Truth be Told:
TIMES HAVE CHANGED!!!
Yet, Crescent City is snail-like in embracing change and remains a Pass through community.
- High taxes, now 8.5% deter prosperity. Brookings benefits from Del Norte’s high taxes.
- Limited restaurants and more closing down.
- Dull, gray Vallejo-esq buildings with few shops and even fewer charming areas.
- Boarded up buildings and dilapidated store fronts with wanton For Sale/ Lease signage posted for days after weeks after months after years and years and YEARS of no takers at any price. Tragic!
- The actual need for commercial real estate space has waned over the years for many reasons. More folks are working from their homes and despite calls for more local shopping support, more of us are buying and banking on line. Amazon is our new store.
Yet, the skeletal edifices of vacant buildings constantly remind us of our failed past.
Eye on Del Norte recognizes the need for systemic improvements.
The recently improved Front St road to Battery Point Lighthouse is a big, positive step forward.
Much more is needed.
Commercial real estate is languishing at a near 50% vacancy rate. California businesses, especially retail is under siege. Covid 19 has worsened conditions for any business seeking to make a profit.
The only buyers of private businesses like Coastal Inn and Suites is Government. Major RED flag.
What is our hope? How can Crescent City turn this dry-docked battleship 180 degrees.
Housing…Let me say it again:
H O U S I N G !!
The need is so critical. Crescent City has a huge housing shortage. It is time for the City to change archaic zoning ordinances of so many of these vacant boarded-up buildings and convert these structures to multi-housing units.
With these conversions, a new energy and collateral businesses will serve the needs of these new multi-family communities.
The Surf Motel serves as a shining example of a successfully-operated multi- residential properties. We need more of these well-run businesses.
These long- standing eyesores (and they need not be identified in this post) could be eliminated in short order and these community eyesores could be converted into community gems, shining stars worthy of admiration.
The City of Los Angeles built an exquisite community around Staples Center. The City of Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia hosts a charming, lovely City downtown. The City of Sacramento has also initiated gentrification efforts within its downtown and it’s working.
The upside of this process of changing these out of touch 1960s zoning ordinances is the first step in community beautification.
The increased property tax revenue and associated sales tax revenue generated by residents of these newly occupied buildings would bring a new prosperity to our moribund downtown and actually make downtown a destination point.
What do you think?
Are you satisfied with how our community appears and do we need to tell our elected what we expect. OR are we doomed for perpetual mediocrity.