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June 8, 2004 > Editorial: Centerville May Cost More, But We Are Worth It!

Editorial: Centerville May Cost More, But We Are Worth It!

June is a busy month. Graduation ceremonies are in full swing and many vacation plans are set for the long, warm days of summer. On the city scene, momentum is starting to gather for the fall election season. Decisions are being made and the roster of candidates is beginning to clear. Change is in the air, nowhere more prominent than in the City of Fremont. By the end of summer, a long-term city manager will be gone, the short-term fire chief will have left and other changes may be in store as well. The item that will not be gone is the same lingering problem that has plagued the city for years. When will the City of Fremont initiate and complete a successful project of significance?

There is an excellent opportunity for a change within the next week. The city council, sitting as the Redevelopment Agency Board, can make a firm statement to the historic districts and the city at large by rejecting the Charter Development proposal and making a bold move to tell whoever follows that this project must be of the highest quality and inclusive of the Centerville community. This means that instead of an inward focus, the development expands outwards to encompass the Fremont Boulevard streetscape.

There should be no vague promises to Scenario Game and Hobby Shoppe. A firm commitment to a free-standing structure is the right thing to do. For once, let's support our local businesses.

Another aspect of the plan should be made clear to both developer and staff. The object of this development is not to do it cheaply. It is not to shuffle something to another area because it will save money, but rather to build a site that will serve as a centerpiece of urban renewal - that extends to the entire Centerville retail area. This is the purpose of Redevelopment monies, not just to perpetuate salaries or plan upon plan!

A housing development in the middle of the retail section is divisive. Mixed use is fine as long as it does not serve as a euphemism for housing. Fremont may be under the gun for more housing, but let's put things in the proper perspective. When retail space is traded for housing, all synergy is lost. Pretty soon, most retail collapses. Is this the plan for Centerville? I hope not. If so, the other districts had better watch out.

Let's strike out boldly using tax dollars for the betterment of the community. Let's have a win for a change by demanding only the best for the Centerville Unified Site.

Our representatives have an opportunity to set things back on the right course. It's time to regain the focus of revitalization and remind developers and staff that even if the right plan costs a bit more, we are worth it! Fremont citizens should be out in force for the study session at 5 p.m. on June 15th at the Council Chambers, 3300 Capitol Avenue to make sure the council does the right thing.

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