Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hopes and Fears

After living in Santa Ana for over three years, it seems as if things are finally happening in the empty lots just West of the Santiago Lofts.

When I first told my friends and family I was moving to Santa Ana, they thought I was crazy. But to me, it made perfect sense because I believe in this city–what it is, what it was, and what it could be.

As of Monday night, the Related/Griffin team is now one step closer in becoming the master developer for these nearby lots. And after three years of watching other cities evolve while Santa Ana moved at a snail's pace, I am filled with hope with the thought of what could come to our city.

But at the same time, my hopes are equally met with trepidation and fears.

Allow me to share some of my hopes and fears:

I'm hopeful that what we build, retains the quality residents already living here while attracting new ones who are invested in this city, looking to build stronger communities.

I'm fearful that like everything else in Santa Ana, it will take too long to develop and we'll have once again missed our window of opportunity.

I'm hopeful that within these ~7 acres being developed, creative open spaces and green spaces; such as parks (ground and rooftop) gardens (community/rooftop) are implemented.

I'm fearful that the children of our neighborhoods are to continue playing in empty parking lots–such as those that do everyday at Garfield Elementary.

I'm hopeful the grand vision for the Station District is for a creative, urban renewal that activates our streets and would rival the revivals that took place in destinations such as University Heights (Park Blvd/Adams Ave) in San Diego and Abbot Kinney Boulevard in Venice.

I'm fearful that the design cues will be taken from stale city of Irvine.

I'm hopeful that when finally implemented, the streetcar is a new avenue that brings commerce to Santa Ana.

I'm fearful the streetcar will just be another way to fabulous Garden Grove.

I'm hopeful that whatever ground floor retail & restaurants planned for these lots "fit"–having something for everyone.

I'm fearful that the driving force that thought it would be okay to:

  • Allowed Ware set up shop in Logan

  • Build stucco monstrosities in the middle of French Park

  • Not develop amenities in conjunction with the Santiago Lofts at the train depot parking lot

  • Have an El Pollo Loco as the only walkable restaurant to the world famous Bowers Museum (not including Tangata which is located adjacent to the museum)
is still behind the wheel of our city.

I'm hopeful in that Santa Ana will some day become a true destination city; where new circulation is brought to our streets–where places like Downtown, The Fiesta Marketplace, 4th Street, and the Station District (including the train depot) are ventured to by people all over Southern California.

8 comments :

Anonymous said...

maybe one day, there will be people in local government who really care about improving their city and have the guts to stand their ground. Without strong leadership with a vision, Santa Ana will continue to develop at a snails pace. What ever happen to the renaissance project?

Kevin said...

Thanks for continuing with your posts. You're an easy access to the inside community of the Santiago Lofts. I missed Monday's meeting regarding, but I'm glad there's steps going forward with leadership. I'm keeping a close eye on things as my wife and are getting ready to move from the South Coast Metro side of Santa Ana to (hopefully) the lofts.

Gustavo Arellano said...

I'm surprised you'd support Don Papi Pulido's trolley proposal, given to a supremely unqualified company, a deal that shows SanTana politics in all its rank disgust. "Whatever means necessary to an end" isn't wise civic planning...

Mike Tardif said...

Santa Ana Planning Commission Study Session concerning the "Station District."

This is the "replacement" for the Renaissance Specific Plan.

It is at 5:30 (sharp) Monday Aug. 24th at the Ross Annex of City Hall - not the Council Chambers.

This meeting is open to the public.

Mike Tardif
http://www.ci.santa-ana.ca.us/pba/documents/agenda_pc.pdf

Mike Tardif said...

WHY would the Council hold such an important meeting under a "Special Meeting" circumstance with only 24 hours notice to the general public?

I attended this meeting. It was obvious that the participants - City Council members and members of the various organizations had much more prior notice of this meeting than the general public received.

Why not hold the Study Session at 3:00 pm on a day coinciding with a regular council meeting; with a respectful (rather than minimum) notice to the public?

It was stated at the meeting that the City Council wants to "reach out to the community" and by that get a "buy in" to the process by the residents, property owners and businesses of Santa Ana.

The scheduling and arrangements for this City Council Study Session meeting were not a good start towards reaching out to the community.

MUERTE H.C. said...

Agreed Mike... I jumped on the computer this afternoon and as a property owner that backs up to at least one of the proposed redevelopment sites; I'm appalled that after a 2 year stand still BAM! here they go.

There's still nothing I can find on the web that indicates what the Station District plan might include or how it differs from the Renaiisance plan

Mike Tardif said...

Muerte H.C.

Here is my email address:

mike@tardifsheetmetal.com

Send your email address to me and I will send a digital photo of the Station District map to you.

But take the map with a grain of salt. Boundaries of SA project areas are famous for changing.

DG said...

I still have the utmost optimism for this city, but every new "plan" that comes out (renaissance, one broadway, streetcar, ect.)just seems like another chance for Pulido & Co. to get money from the state and "campaign contributions" from developers. It might be that old SA apathy in my voice, but its seeming more and more like reality.