Another Voice: Riverside County Uses Redevelopment Well
Twice in recent days I had the opportunity to visit the Capitol – where I served in the Assembly and Senate for seven years – and implored legislators to refrain from stripping local governments of redevelopment funds.
Representing one of California’s most active redevelopment agencies, I have seen how redevelopment has improved the lot of people in many areas. In Riverside County, redevelopment is the essential tool eradicating blight, building affordable housing and bringing much-needed jobs and public projects to revitalize communities.
I highlighted two of the county’s most impoverished areas, Mecca and Rubidoux. Prior to the county’s investments, these communities had meager roads that would easily flood and a lack of community staples, such as sidewalks, housing units and a library.
I came to Sacramento also to present the reality of Riverside County’s budget picture, where overall personnel has shrunk 10 percent and department directors have sustained deep budget cuts of as much as 25 percent. I have not seen this same level of commitment to reductions in the state’s bureaucracy.
It was critically important to share the merits of this vital tool for local government that has made possible infrastructure that has benefitted the entire community. When it comes to redevelopment, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater.
[caption id="attachment_1530" align="alignright" width="300" caption="A flooded Mecca neighborhood, January 2010. Riverside County has invested $57 million to help Mecca, one of the most impoverished communities in the United States."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1566" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Mecca improvements include seven miles of streets, sidewalks, curb and gutters – basic infrastructure necessities that Mecca lacked."][/caption]
[caption id="attachment_1538" align="alignright" width="300" caption="The old abandoned North Shore Yacht Club became a magnet for graffiti and a code enforcement issue. Today, the North Shore Beach & Yacht Club has been restored to its original glory and now serves as a community center, offering physical fitness and after-school programs. This structure is part of the efforts to revitalize the Salton Sea area and develop its recreation and tourism potential."][/caption]