Whole new path across town

ROGER’S GARDENS in Corona del Mar (RG).

The Tribune reported recently about the Orange County Transportation Authority’s plan to extend the existing Medal of Honor Garden Grove Bike/Pedestrian Path along the old Pacific Electric right-of-way to link up with Santa Ana.

Mayor Steve Jones, a member of the OCTA Board of Directors, is pleased with that idea. “I’m really excited to see our active transportation network finally coming to life in Garden Grove.” He noted that what began as a small demonstration project in 2014 now runs from Nelson to Brookhurst streets, with plans to further extend past Chapman Avenue to Gilbert Street. Etc.

But wait … there’s more.

“I am working with various groups who have an interest in actively programming the long, linear spaces along the right-of-way trails with a dog-friendly walk and talk café and a farm-to-table above ground educational irrigation and farming system,” he continued.

OUTDOOR art on The Highline in Manhattan (Steve Jones photo).

“Picture marrying a long and narrow version of Roger’s Gardens from Corona del Mar together with the Highline from New York City and that’s a taste of what we’re hoping to achieve in Garden Grove.”

In case you’re not familiar to those references, Rogers Gardens is a “destination home and garden store” near Pacific Coast Highway with lush and colorful trails of “botanical beauty” and opportunities to buy cool stuff.

The Highline was an above-ground rail line in the lower west side of Manhattan that, according to Jones, “sat vacant and blighted for decades.” Instead of the city spending millions to demolish it, people there mobilized to save it and convert it to a 1.5-mile linear park. Along the route there are events, many varieties of nature’s flowering bounty, art, music and more.

Intriguing idea. Perhaps Garden Grove can be known as a “garden spot” once more.

Mother Nature’s other possibilities

In the controversy over Westminster City Manager Marwan Youssef’s selection of Tyler Diep – a former city councilmember and member of the state Assembly – as a lobbyist, one of Youssef’s comments about ways to extricate the city from its ongoing financial woes has been largely overlooked.

STANTON is moving toward cannabis sales and other related businesses. Should Westminster follow?

Marwan has only been in the job since February and spoke about taking inspiration from nearby Stanton, referring both to that city’s success in nurturing development along Beach Boulevard and its plans to foster a thriving cannabis industry, from production to sales.

Westminster, like most of Orange County, has a long history of agricultural prowess.

Imagine exchanging our citrus groves and strawberry fields for marijuana plants? The times they are a-changing.

Will the original be great again? There’s hope

What is now Main Street in Garden Grove is the birthplace of “The City of Youth and Ambition” and was its original central business district. Over the years it’s had its ups and downs, but there are forces poised now to really raise that area’s profile.

DOWNTOWN GG at its peak in the mid-50s. This view is looking south on what it now Main Street from Garden Grove Boulevard (Orange County Archives).

Armed with a large grant through the office of Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, the city has taken some ideas submitted by the Downtown Business Association and really run with them.

Nothing is written in stone yet, but things in various states of cooking are year-round outdoor lighting along the street, attractive new “parklet” al fresco dining areas, wayfinding signs directing visitors to key locations in the downtown-civic center area, lots of locally created public art and more.

Stay tuned to this channel as additional – and more solid – information becomes available.

Usually Reliable Sources” is posted every other week, alternating with Jim Tortolano’s “Retorts” column.



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