Friday, Dec. 22, 2006 | One of the more audacious aspects of the grandiose Grantville redevelopment project is the proposal to reroute traffic through the community. Currently Mission Gorge Road is the main thoroughfare connecting Interstate 8 to Friars Road, then continuing east to Santee. The recently revealed Grantville vision plans would like that to change.

The vision plan for Grantville sub-area A would prefer Fairmount Avenue to be the main drag. This would require transforming this two lane street into at least a four lane road, and if we consider all the new residents the project would add to the area, six lanes would be more appropriate. The new, wider Fairmount would then take a serpentine path to connect to Friars, or a more direct route right through a current business. And what would happen to Mission Gorge Road? This would become a two lane, pedestrian-friendly “main street,” lined by storefronts and shops.

Why would the plan propose such an undertaking? This question is answered right up front. The plan wants to retain what it sees as the four important businesses in Grantville: Home Depot, the Toyota dealer, the Honda dealer, and Kaiser Permanente. All of these would front the new Fairmount. Additionally, H.G. Fenton, whose president and CEO was hand-picked by Councilman Jim Madaffer to chair the Grantville Redevelopment Advisory Committee, owns property along Fairmount. The new traffic pattern would direct patrons right to their doorsteps.

The upside of this plan for these five entities is obvious. The plan, however, does not directly address the downside. All the businesses that currently line Mission Gorge Road between I-8 and Friars would have to go. These businesses would be sacrificed by eminent domain to recreate Grantville to better benefit the major players.

Since Councilman Madaffer’s office suggests he was the sole originator of the Grantville project, but it is so clear who would benefit, it would be interesting to know if perhaps he was approached by one of these players to put the redevelopment machine in motion. “What did he know, and when did he know it?”

In the end, all we can ask for is consistency. The smaller interests should be dealt with in a manner consistent with the treatment of the big guys. And since the plan wants to rearrange the major arteries, ripping the heart out of the community, forever changing its character, all we can ask is for the plan to be consistent and rename the place Madafferville.

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