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|San Joaquin County, CA||November 4, 2008 Election|
By Cliff DebaughCandidate for Council Member; City of Lodi
This information is provided by the candidate
The choices we make about future growth decide not only how the city looks it's a lot more..In the upcoming days and weeks there will be much discussion about the general plan for our city. The plan is being done in an excellerated manner as it is late by normal standards. By late I mean the existing general plan had for all purposes expired.
For a general plan to be carefully crafted, thought out, drawn up, discussed, redone, reviewed and voted on by the planning commission, then finally voted on by the city council can take 3-5 years given the immense complexity of the document.
The citizens of Lodi must look to the council makeup as of 2002 and 2004 for the answer. The city may have been experiencing financial difficulties at the time, however, what must be done, must be done. As has worked out the delay has served the city in a positive way in there has been only a small number of projects to consider thus far. This will give us a little breathing room in the decision process.
During the last few years the wine tourism industry has grown up literally around the city. Now in the coming years Lodi has to keep a delicate balance of its growth in order to maintain the longterm benefits of this vital and growing industry in our city.
According to the editor of Travel Host Magazine the average tourist today travels 100-150 miles from home, stays 2-3 nights away and has an income of approx. 72K year.
So, what do we do to continue to capture this added source of revenue for our city? It starts with careful managed, well thought out growth for the city. We have industrial growth, small business/retail growth, a need for senior housing, low income housing, apartments, town homes and condos. So many choices to make with every choice effecting the city positive and negative.
How do we accomplish this? It's not a simple answer as it takes an attitude adjustment in how we look at housing and retail. The answer or at least part of the answer is to grow up, not out. By growing up (both mentally and physically) with multistory buildings more can work and shop in less space allowing for more centralized environments. This is not a new concept, it's a global concept. Lodi is exposed to the global market by the wine industry. Our city should reflect not only local values and life, it should also reflect the larger global impact of this vital industry
The city is currently putting together a plan aimed at the future of downtown as commuter rail starts becoming a way of life in the 21st century. It's called Transit Oriented Development (TOD. The plan does call for new 3 or 4 story buildings with retail at street level and residential above.
So what makes pull together? The successful cities have one thing in common; a downtown theme. San Antonio has the river walk as does Reno, San Francisco has Chinatown, the Embarcadero, and Japan town, LA has Olivera Street All around America successful downtowns are tied to a central name. The areas give tourist and locals a gathering spot, ambiance, cultural history and learning opportunities for all who visit.
In looking at our downtown the city has done really well in placing the important components to a themed downtown. Custom sidewalks, art on the street, mural art on the buildings, old style street lamps, tall trees, durable landscaping, paver stones for a street surface and European style kiosk to find where you are downtown. This is mainly on School Street which could be called our Italian area in reference to our sister city, Lodi, Italy.
Sacramento Street could become our arts and museum area as the World Of Wonders Science Museum leads the way with their opening. The wine industry could open a history of wine and agriculture Museum, tasting room with an atrium growing grapes to be used in downtown vintage wine.
Next can be Main Street which can become our Japan Town saluting our sister city, Kofu, Japan. Also tying in Lodi's historical roots to the Japanese community.
Lastly, the city is restoring Lodi Avenue west from Cherokee Lane to the railroad tracks. This has the possibility of being equivalent to LA's Olivera Street as the lead in to the main downtown areas. This will be our lead street no matter what is decided. It's all to be decided between the planning commission and the city council.
This is only an idea, it may or may not become reality.
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