BALDWIN PARK – Council members are steadfast on their vision of an urban downtown village for the city’s main drag. On Wednesday, they rejected 25 proposals from area businesses for the revitalization project, agreeing the submissions weren’t a fit for the 124 acres along Ramona Boulevard. “We want developers to come in thinking out of the box,” Councilwoman Marlen Garcia said. “We want to change this environment, make it an urban village, a walkable community.” Proposals from The Charles Company and Primestor Development Inc. for properties the companies own downtown were also met with skepticism. In the past several years, the city has revived the issue. The city entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement with Bisno Development Co. LLC, last year for the revitalization plan. City officials gave property owners a chance to jump on board and submit their own ideas. But Olivas said Thursday he was not impressed, for example, with Primestor’s suggestion to build a La Curacao – an appliance and furniture retailer – on its property. Garcia was even less intrigued with The Charles Co.’s ideas to build a drugstore on its Ramona Boulevard land. “We’re tired of that,” she said. “I think we’ve become the San Gabriel Valley capital of drugstores. It’s enough.” The area is lined with mostly medical offices, discount stores and fast-food chains. But some owners are balking at the city’s stance. “The way I see it is they want total redevelopment and it’s absolutely unfair,” said Wayne Fletcher, owner of Maine Pawn Shop on Maine Avenue. “I don’t think people are going to come from out of their way to come to Baldwin Park,” he said. “Everyone uses downtown Pasadena as a model. Baldwin Park is not going to be a downtown Pasadena. It won’t happen. It’s a ridiculous thought.” And as a working-class community, city residents aren’t going to be spending the kind of money officials are hoping for at high-end restaurants and stores, Fletcher said. But Olivas disagreed, arguing that the city loses a large amount of sales tax revenue from residents who shop out of town. “If we are able to capture even a percentage of what we call sales tax leakage that goes to West Covina,” he said, “then Baldwin Park will not be in such tough shape.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2109 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! But city staff members will continue discussions with those companies as well as the Valley County Water District to see if any projects can be worked out, officials said. “It’s not so much being picky as it is wanting to go with a developer who is going to take a comprehensive approach to the downtown,” Councilman David Olivas said. “No one was really proposing anything near what we want, which is a downtown master plan project including a movie theater and restaurants and mixed-use.” About 120 acres mostly within the city’s commercial corridor along Maine Avenue and Ramona Boulevard make up what is considered the downtown area, said Melecio Picazo, the city’s acting redevelopment manager. The boundaries are Clark Street on the north, La Rica Avenue on the west, city limits on the east and Sterling Way on the south, he said. Officials first considered revamping this area in the late 1990s but the idea was eventually shelved, Garcia said.
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