On Nov. 13, Councilman Greg Bogh asked for a brief summary of what the city has done in the past 10 years in the Uptown Yucaipa area and the money that has been invested in that area.
“I would like to ask Ray Casey to give a brief summary as there is so much that we have done and it is hard to compact it into such a short period of time, but do what you can,” said Bogh.
City Manager Ray Casey was happy to share with the community and remind council with a brief summary of events. “Over the last eight to 10 years the city has updated the specific plan to reflect some of the economic development initiatives that council wanted to consider including some housing that fits in well with the Uptown area,” said Casey.
“In addition, projects completed were $2 million in storm drain improvements close to 10 years ago. Underneath the entire Uptown is a very large pipe that collects water from catch basins and was important in removing the flooding problems that had happened over the years in the Uptown area. On that storm drain system, we built and spent about $7 million in a series of street scape, curb and gutter projects … also concrete paving, the enhanced paving, the round-a-bouts, pedestrian oriented sidewalk areas which are also turning into some dining opportunities now. In addition, we have built a number of alley improvements in the greater Uptown area, public parking lots, and on street parking. We have just recently built some new parking lots that have been focused on ADA accessibilities for our festival events,” said Casey.
Councilman Bogh asked for an estimated cost on the parking lot improvements. Casey stated “$160,000 was the cost for the most recent parking lot improvements.” This was confirmed by Fermin Preciado, Director of Public Works/City Engineer.
“City council has set aside funding for facade improvement projects that has led to improvements in a number of buildings. New businesses opening partly because of the facade improvement funding include the Blair Building, Jim Frisch Buildings and more recently the Suveg Cellars project, the Uptown wine merchant and Fire Pizza projects have all been funded, in part by the facade improvement program. Brewcaipa is another project that the city took an even more active role in, in that the building itself was acquired together with the rest of the anchor block and then retrofit and ultimately the TI’s (tenant improvements) were completed by our partner and ultimately the buyer of that building,” said Casey.
More recent projects completed include the Performing Arts Center and the public parking lot next to it, the plaza, the street and utility improvements that surround and serve that area of the community. “The utility improvements, not only for the Performing Arts Theatre but the adjacent vacant properties as well, were all updated,” said Casey.
Councilman Bogh wanted to know the amount for the facade improvements and Casey replied, “it happened in a series of phases and with a combination of all those projects, street improvements, public parking lot improvements, urban park, on street parking and the Performing Arts Theatre, … so in total when you add all that up you are in about $40 million in total in improvements in the Uptown area,” said Casey.
Sales taxes over a nine year period from the Uptown area versus other parts of the city have brought in about a 100% increase of sales volume where as the rest of the community is about 40 to 50%, “which isn’t bad which compares favorably with our neighbors but certainly that Uptown area has seen a marked increase in sales volume in an eight or nine year period leading up to just a year or two ago,” said Casey.
Supporting documents are available for public view on the city of Yucaipa website at yucaipa.org.