Town improvement ideas highlight Jacob’s Revitalization meeting

By Karen Brainard

Ideas for additional services and recreational opportunities for residents and for economic development were part of the conversation at County Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s biannual Ramona Community Revitalization Steering Committee meeting on Oct. 16.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, second from left in background, leads the Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee meeting on Oct. 16. Seated at the meeting are subcommittee chairs and members, county staff, law enforcement, and residents. About 30 people attended the meeting. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Held in the community room of the Ramona Library, the meeting drew about 30 people. Jacob facilitates the meeting and hears reports from subcommittees: parks and recreation, economic development, health and human services, infrastructure and transportation, and public safety and law enforcement.

Jack Rogers, project chairperson of the Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus (RICC) subcommittee, reported that a meeting was recently held at Jacob’s office about the RICC and discussion included developing a gymnasium for the site. The RICC is proposed to be built on Main Street, between 12th and 13th streets, with the library serving as an anchor. Other buildings proposed for the RICC include a senior center, community resource center, daycare, and a recreational center.

Rogers said sports groups and school sports teams in the community need more places to practice. The RICC subcommittee has been working with the YMCA and the Parks and Recreation Department on the gym, but no group is stepping up to offer to operate and maintain a community gymnasium, he said.

Tom Fincher, with the county’s General Services department, said the meeting at Jacob’s office was productive and the  next step is for the community to decide how the gym development should be approached, who could be involved and determine the financial base.

County Supervisor Dianne Jacob tells members of the Ramona Revitalization Steering Committee that lower transportation impact fees hopefully will help commercial development in Ramona. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Fincher also noted that Caltrans has an operations yard on Main Street, adjacent to the proposed RICC site. The county would like to add that land to the RICC site and has been attempting to swap property with Caltrans.

“We have encountered a bureaucracy to end all bureaucracies,” said Fincher. “The process for changing a site in kind is very difficult.”

Fincher said he will continue to meet with Caltrans about a land swap.

“A year ago I thought we were on a positive track. I don’t know what in Caltrans changed, but it just became too difficult and they weren’t interested,” he said.

With the RICC campus proposed to extend to the Santa Maria Creek, Arvie Degenfelder, RICC subcommittee chair, suggested getting groups to clear out the creek area. That section of the creek, between 12th and 13th streets, could be developed as part of the proposed Santa Maria Creek Greenway, said Degenfelder. A bridge is to be constructed on 13th Street over the creek.

Jacob told committee members that the board of supervisors has approved lowering the transportation impact fees (TIF) that impacted commercial development.

“I’m hopeful that we’ll see some uptick in the economy,” she said, adding that the state government also needs to make some changes. “Certainly from a county standpoint this should help.”

Carol Fowler, chair of the economic development subcommittee and vice chair of the Ramona Village Design Group, reported that the design group is finalizing the design document to revitalize the downtown area and create design standards. She said the village design group will hold a joint meeting with the Ramona Community Planning Group and Ramona Design Review Board to discuss the plan.

Fowler said one idea is to approach Caltrans about allowing a Ramona welcome sign over Main Street.

Carol Fowler, chair of the economic development subcommittee, talks about village design plans for Ramona. At left is resident John Degenfelder, who works with the parks and recreation subcommittee, and at right is Joe Farace with the county’s Planning and Development Services Department. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

“That could further enhance the charm of Ramona,” she said.

Fowler also said Ramona wineries are bringing more tourism into town and noted the lack of lodging. A Farm Stay ordinance is being investigated, she said, that could possibly allow lodging on working farms.

Although she suggested the creation of an economic development agency to attract tourist-related businesses to Ramona, Jacob said the board of supervisors will not create another agency.

Related posts:

  1. Ramona revitalization committee, Jacob present myriad of topics
  2. Jacob seeks more participation at revitalization meetings
  3. Piva, Jacob react to news Caltrans working on Dye/67 intersection
  4. Businesses pose improvement ideas to design review group
  5. Jacob returns Ramona Street extension to drawing board

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Oct 23 2012. Filed under Featured Story, Government, News, Ramona. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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