Sorry for the slow posting lately. We’re in the middle of a number of different projects. Some of them you’ll see the result of soon, I hope.
I’m actually traveling right now, but as I sat in the airport here in Atlanta, I wanted to make a point about something:
If you didn’t get a chance to read Kelly Bennett‘s excellent story the other day about the now-approved Grantville area and the bizarre legal settlement between the city and county of San Diego, you should. It was very well told.
Basically, the story goes like this. The Grantville area is not so nice. I think most people agree it could use a facelift, some infrastructure and — most importantly — a cogent plan that outlines how it can reach its potential.
So, City Councilman Jim Madaffer and others want to turn it into a redevelopment zone. This would allow it to retain and reinvest new tax dollars that may come in as the area improves. But this means that those tax dollars won’t go to the state, the county and other parts of the city.
So the county sued — it doesn’t want to lose that revenue.
The county and city argued and then came to a settlement. The county would allow Grantville to become a redevelopment area, if the city sent some of the funds to its downtown redevelopment agency, CCDC, to be used to help the county build that beautiful park they’re planning near Little Italy along the harbor.
How could redevelopment money set aside for Grantville be used to build a park downtown?
Well that’s the beauty of Bennett’s story. She really explains it well. It’s simple. Grantville — that area far to the northeast of downtown is really actually downtown because the trolley line connects it. That’s the reasoning the city and county lawyers are using.
If that’s true, then, is Los Angeles actually San Diego because we’re connected by the Amtrak train?
Now, here’s the point I wanted to make. I am a fan of the plans to turn those huge parking lots on either side of the county building into a nice bayside park. I think it’s a fantastic idea — the kind that’s so good that it’s probably never going to happen.
But never mind my pessimism. The plan to build it has been stalled. You might remember that county Supervisor Ron Roberts wanted to give some county land nearby to a developer in exchange for the developer building a parking garage to house all the cars that would be displaced by removal of the parking lots along the harbor.
We can follow that up later.
When I heard that the city had done this deal, I was confused, as were other fans of the harborside park. Why? Well, we want the park. But this deal was just bizarre.
Now, it’s clear. This is not good for the park.
If this is the only way that the county can afford to build the park, the park’s in trouble. And if rightful opposition arises to this ridiculous deal, and it succeeds in killing it, do we also somehow kill this park?
That’s just dumb.
And on the other side, some argue this was the only way to get Grantville its money.
That’s just dumb too. If the idea of Grantville being a redevelopment area is so shaky you have to basically bribe the county with bizarre reasoning like that, we’re going to have to figure something else out.
I’m going to check in with the county and see what they’re thinking about regarding funding for the downtown park. It shouldn’t be with Grantville money.
Grantville is no more a part of downtown than LA is a part of San Diego.