I am involved in the local economies in the Sacramento area, Crescent City area and the California and Oregon Coast (andquot;Improving our local : A first step we must take,andquot; Feb. 21). There are several issues that need to be addressed and are under the control of local government and the local community. I have seen recent improvement and focus, however, there is a long way to go.
Del Norte County and Crescent City need to aggressively address the blight issue and the attractiveness of U.S. Hwy. 101, which is the gateway to the city. It has improved, however, it needs to be focused on.I can only tell you that when you drive through Crescent City on Hwy. 101 and see the old mobile home parks and equipment consignment yards, empty lots, abandoned buildings, redwood debris scattered used for carvings, etc., it does not encourage you to stop and spend time there.In other words, it does not attract tourists.
Drive down Elk Valley Road and look at the debris in yards, old cars, junk; also drive through other old residential areas and see the same thing. It is not attractive and inviting.
To increase andquot;curb appeal,andquot; you need to clean upthe area. That means have effective blight laws at the city and county level, then focusing on and enforcing them.
I drive between Sacramento and Lincoln City, Ore., frequently and Crescent City, Orick, and Langlois - to name a few are the least attractive - and worst maintained communities that exist. If you don't believe it, make the drive up the coast from Eureka to Lincoln City and see for yourself.There is a reason why people prefer places like Brookings and Bandon to Crescent City.
Problem No. 2: Harbor
The No. 2 problem is the harbor. All you have to do is look at it, then go to Brookings and look at their harbor. At one time the Brookings harbor was worse than Crescent City's, but no more. They addressed the problem.To give you an example of how bad it is, the harbor was working off of a general plan that was developed in 1986 until recently, that will tell you something about the attention and focus of the harbor district. Of course, the naysayers will say, andquot;Yes, they built it, but it is financially struggling.andquot; That is true, but the fact is that it is there, and it is attractive, and it encourages visitors and business and it will evolve out of its problems. Ours will stay the same. Just look at the two and tell me which your prefer. Progress generally comes with growing pains. The process will work thorough itself.
Crescent City will continue to stay on the map because it's the county seat and we have the prison, but we will bumble along with slow growth and be outpaced by other more progressive communities unless we help ourselves. Clean up the community, develop the harbor, encourage business to come, stay and participate and provide employment, and above all, aggressively go after a prison expansion that will bring another $60 million a year to the local economy, as well as 5,000-plus people, employees, family, support business, etc.
I have been involved in the Crescent City business community since 1986, and if it were not for the Department of Corrections building a prison in the county,Crescent City would barely exist. You could have had another prison before Susanville got it, Crescent City was the first choice, but because of short sightedness, hostile environment and a petty disagreement of $2 million and nothing but conflict and delays from local government and the community, the Department of Corrections selected another site. Susanville welcomed them with open arms and did everything they could do do get them to come to Susanville. Another example of Del Norte wisdom. Apparently, Susanville saw the value of another $60 million a year being spent in the local community. How can you turn down $60 million a year for a one time additional cost of $2 million. You most likely will have another chance, and if you do, educate yourselves and the local people on the importance and value of the expansion, and aggressively go after the expansion. It is the one thing that will have an immediate impact on the community.
Of course, the no-growth advocates will be against it, however don't let the silent majority be unheard, they will support it. Don't let another opportunity pass you by, or if you do, everyone will sit here and scratch their heads for another 10 or 20 years and wonder why Crescent City remains stagnant.
Let's save ourselves
There are three kinds of people in the world: those that make it happen; those that watch it happen; and those that wonder what happened. Which category do you think that the local community would fall under?
Become pro-active and do something to save yourself.