Victorville’s Old Town tries to lure artists March 15, 2007Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Towns.
This is rather bold.
Tired of vacant storefronts in the Old Town area, the City of Victorville, Calif., recently purchased a laundry business so it can tear it down and erect a complex of 10 artist-friendly lofts in an effort to spark residential and retail development, the Victorville Daily Press reports.
Developers already are showing more interest in the area, and police have stepped up patrols to make locals feel safer.
But it will take more than just a new facade and coat of paint to bring the people – and the money – to the area on nights and weekends.
That’s where the city’s strategic plan comes in.
“There’s so many inherent qualities in our Old Town that other places try to create,” Hanna said Tuesday at the monthly meeting of Old Town Victorville Property Owners.
She was referring to Route 66, which runs right through town at Seventh Street. While Rancho Cucamonga has a Route 66 theme at Victoria Gardens, Old Town Victorville has the real thing, she said.
The area around the Nuway building is full of history – across C Street is the High Desert Center for the Arts, while across 8th Street is the Green Spot Motel, a landmark since the 1920s with a rich heritage as a pit stop for movie stars.
The city plans to acquire other “catalytic” sites along Seventh Street, turning the four-block grid from A to D streets into a pedestrian-friendly environment where residents walk home from work and stroll out to dinner and a movie.
I’m usually skeptical that such an overt effort like this will work. Neighborhoods that drew creative residents usually developed naturally, with no municipal assistance.
However, Victorville does have an existing asset in Old Town that seems ideal for such an effort. And with the nearby Los Angeles metro area becoming Exhibit A of the consequences of sprawl, perhaps many people will flock to a walkable, historic district.
If Victorville’s plan works, look for it to be copied all across the country.