By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large
Now begins the start of making it happen
June 9 was pretty much a red-letter day for the people who’ve been pushing for the Grantville Focused Plan Amendment, which has the potential to open the door to a dramatic redevelopment of the neighborhood.
The unanimous council vote of approval culminated at least 10 years of almost constant work on the plan by city staffers and local stakeholders. The 531-page document lays out page after page of specific projects that would need to be accomplished in order to make the whole plan come true. And it lays them out in almost excruciating detail.
Politicians and community leaders lined up to praise the plan and the staff that pulled it all together.
“After many years of hard work by community members and city staff, we finally have a workable plan to create a mixed-use community and revitalize the San Diego River Park,” said City Councilmember Scott Sherman.
Councilmember Marti Emerald, who’d been a big supporter of the effort, called Grantville “a hidden treasure.”
The plan as approved has five main goals, and a whole laundry list of other, more specific goals.
The main goals are to promote transit-oriented development within walking distance of the Grantville Trolley station, in keeping with San Diego’s “City of Villages” planning philosophy; to promote the revitalization of properties which are underutilized; to promote a multi-modal transportation strategy; to provide additional market-rate and affordable housing opportunities; and to facilitate the implementation of the San Diego River Park Master Plan.
As the interested parties all congratulated each other over final passage of the plan, they were all thinking and saying much the same thing: OK. Now what?
There are many people who’ve been working at and talking about the redevelopment of the Grantville area for varying lengths of time.
Few have been at that longer than Dan Smith.
Smith is a property owner, business owner and now a resident of Grantville who’s been talking about revitalizing the area since at least 1982, by his own reckoning.
Also by his own reckoning, Smith is outspoken about things he believes in. One of the things he believes in is the possible future of the Grantville area.
“I think there are fabulous opportunities here for the future. This area could become a garden area for the city. There are opportunities here for just about everyone, if they’re willing to work for it, and work at it.”
That said, Smith says there are problems that need to be addressed soon if anything is going to work.
“We need to fix the Alvarado Creek flooding problems, and we need to do what we can to make Mission Gorge Road a better street for all the work that’s going to be done as we move along.”
Those are problems Smith, and many others, have been talking about almost since the beginning of the process.
A primary question is, who’s going to be spearheading the efforts? There is talk in the area that business owners ought to be getting together to try to get things moving. There are developers ready and waiting to stick shovels in the ground and get going on projects outlined in the redevelopment plans.
What Smith wants to see, and will work to make happen, is an orderly plan that will accomplish what needs to be done, in the order it needs to be done, so that the various projects can proceed without interfering with or delaying other projects.
Another factor that may need to be examined is where, if at all, will Allied Gardens fit into the thinking here? The two communities have always been linked together in the past.
As this proceeds onward, we’ll try to keep you updated on what’s going on, and who’s doing it. There will be a great many smaller stories that go to make up the overall picture.
We’ll try to bring them to you.