What do San Gabriel Valley cities such as Pasadena, Monrovia, Sierra Madre, Covina, Glendale, Montrose, and others have that Arcadia does not?
A thriving downtown.
What else do many of those same cities – Pasadena, Sierra Madre, Covina, as well as Temple City and others have that Arcadia doesn’t?
A traditional downtown community parade.
In a refreshing burst of support for almost everything presented to the Council last week, the City Council quietly took three steps towards changing all that to come more in line with our neighbors. Two steps were related to rejuvenating Arcadia’s original Downtown district centered at the intersection of Huntington Drive and First Avenue. The Council approved spending more than $18,000 on a professional consultant to advise a new grass roots Downtown Business Association headed by owner Matt McSweeny. The consultant will help guide the group in determining their most beneficial organizational and self-taxing structure.
The Council also approved spending about $93,000 on a study of parking in the area, and how it might be improved.
Both are expected to be funded by Redevelopment Agency money that can only be spent on such projects, and which may be taken away soon by Governor Brown.
Personally, in addition to the multi-level parking garage to be built at the upcoming new Gold Line train station on Santa Clara at the northwest corner of First Avenue, I think the city should work with the two banks on the east side of First Avenue, south of Huntington Dr. and Alta St., to expand their street level parking into multi-level garages in the heart of Downtown.
Then there needs to be more restaurant choices that complement Matt Denny’s and more coffee shops that double as hang-outs, such as .
Finally, the Council approved the city’s first parade to celebrate our nation’s independence on July 2, also in the Downtown on First Avenue south of Huntington Dr. Produced by a non-profit group that includes myself, Arcadia’s Best Patriotic Festival will also feature a display of special cars of all sorts owned by Arcadia residents and business people, a performance area for local bands and dance groups, and gourmet food trucks and street vendors.
All this City Council support comes more than a decade after the City spent many millions of dollars on the Downtown 2000 project which resulted in the area’s period street lamps, benches, sidewalk design and angled parking on First Avenue.
But there was not enough follow-up push to entice new businesses.
It appears that this time things are moving in the right direction and will get a kick-off on July 2 at an event that will also feature a peek into the near future with a large 40’ x 20’ exhibit of the coming Gold Line.
Read more by Scott Hettrick at ArcadiasBest.com.