Got ideas for mall, Willowick? Speak up

SANTANA ROW in San Jose, a project of the SWA Group (SWA image).

We’re not sure just how much impact the public’s ideas and suggestions really have, but Westminster and Garden Grove (along with Santa Ana) are involved in some interesting exercises in land use democracy.

As you may be aware, Westminster Mall has fallen on hard times and is not the sales tax superman it once was. With a high vacancy (including the late, largely unlamented Sears department store) rate and a national trend away from enclosed malls, the city and the property owners are trying to remake the center and are seeking input from the public.

A survey is available on the city website inviting folks to “re-imagine” the center and the deadline is Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. Anything’s possible but – based on recent trends – we wouldn’t bet against making it an open-air project with mid- to high-rise housing, some public park space and perhaps even a hotel.

As for the Willowick project, we’re pleased that a Garden Grove location for the workshops on the re-use of that golf course site has been added. It will be on Wednesday, Oct 2 at the Buena Clinton Youth and Family Center, 12661 Sunswept Ave. from 6-8 p.m.

By the way, the “facilitators” for the first workshop were from the SWA group. That company not only helps cities envision new projects, but develops them as well. Go to their site: www.swagroup.com. The catalog of what they’ve done is pretty impressive.

ORANGE COAST magazine cover

Downtowns are up

In the September issue of Orange Coast magazine, the various Main Streets and downtowns of Orange County are celebrated. The author focuses on Fullerton, Orange and Santa Ana but doesn’t leave out a nod to the “quiet community of Garden Grove.” Describing the Big Strawberry’s historic business district as “growing,” mentions were given to the Barcode bar and E Patisserie and Café on Main Street.

If they liked those, wait until they get a look at the (under construction) SteelCraft project one block over, set to open later this year.

Which are your favorite downtowns in the area, in or out of the O.C.? We like Orange locally, but when out of town, we’re rather fond of San Luis Obispo.

Don’t give me no dirty looks!

Tony Flores has been the principal gadfly at meetings of the Garden Grove City Council for a while. He’s made some good points and some that are a little harder to follow. Here’s one of the latter.

In a letter to the news media, Mr. Flores stated that “you two”– referring to council members Stephanie Klopfenstein and Kim Nguyen – “had made some kind of facial expressions after my oral communications with the city council on Aug. 28, 2018.”

He followed that up with the argument that the two women were acting “silly, arrogant and immature.”

We don’t know quite how to respond to that. In our many years as journalistas, we’ve seen city council (and school board) members fall asleep, take phone calls, stare at the ceiling, arrive late and leave early, chat amongst themselves, check their e-mail, stare at the ceiling, and even eat during meetings.

We can see how Mr. Flores might have been offended, but we ink-stained wretches are pretty tough-skinned. The only thing a politician can do to infuriate us is to use the phrase “I’m going to be brief …”

You know who you are.

“Usually Reliable Sources” appears on alternate Wednesdays.






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