By Jim Tortolano
The most interesting thing that happened at Monday’s Huntington Beach City Council meeting what was didn’t happen.
Councilman Mike Posey had placed an item for consideration on the agenda that would have called for an advisory vote by the public on the disposition of the Rodgers Senior Center facility in the downtown area. But when the meeting opened, it had been removed.
“I received about 60 e-mails about this,” said Posey, “most of them opposed to the idea.” The agenda item noted that the vote would be to determine whether the old center at 17th Street and Orange Avenue – now superceded by a much large facility in Central Park – should be sold and the money used for general park maintenance, or developed as a “passive park.”
He noted that the city has a $35 million backlog in park maintenance and improvement. The value of the Rodgers site is estimated at $14 million. But Posey bowed to the outpouring of public sentiment.
“You made it clear your opposition to this,” said Posey. But that didn’t stop more than a dozen people from addressing the council to slam the idea of selling the Rodgers site.
Eric Bauer was one of them, promising to fight such a concept if it was ever revived. “The value of the park is put at $14 million. But a park is priceless.” He went on to say “We will be at every city council meeting until you submit,” and added “You cannot pit the rest of Huntington Beach against downtown residents.”
Downtown’s tourism business was also on center stage Monday as a proposed new marketing theme was defended. “Surf City USA” is Huntington Beach’s copyrighted brand name, but an additional new theme – “Huntington Beach is the Soul of SoCal – has raised some hackles.
Peter Rice of the Visit Huntington Beach organization, and manager of the Hyatt Regency hotel, said it was all a misunderstanding. “The rumor that ‘Surf City USA’ is to be replaced is just that: a rumor and a false one,” he said. “Surf City remains our core brand.”
Kelly Miller, president of the group said that in marketing, the message must be refreshed from time to time, and that the “Soul of SoCal” slogan was merely an addition to what is the city’s brand “yesterday, today and tomorrow.”
Categories: Huntington Beach