Last night’s regular monthly meeting of the Newhall Redevelopment Committee (NRC) was their final one – or maybe not.
“As I put it to the group last night: at this time we are not sure about next month’s NRC meeting,” said Armine Chaparyan, Redevelopment Manager for the City of Santa Clarita.
As city liaison to the committee, Chaparyan has had to deal with a lot of uncertainty regarding redevelopment. On June 29, 2011, as part of adopting the State of California Fiscal Year 2011-12 budget, Governor Jerry Brown signed a trailer bill, The Dissolution Act (ABX1-26), which eliminated Redevelopment Agencies.
“It is unlikely things will remain the same with the group. With the dissolution the agency and redevelopment at large we are reviewing the future of NRC,” Chaparyan said.
Since its inception in 1996, the NRC has been meeting on the first Monday of every month. The committee, comprised of property owners, business owners, and residents of the area, have served in an advisory role regarding the revitalization of downtown.
Now, not only are the committee members in limbo but so are two redevelopment projects. One is the roundabout that was to be built near the William S. Hart Park end of downtown. A sculpture was to be commissioned to be part of the roundabout to serve as a welcome to Old Town.
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“There were three funding sources that were going to be utilized for the financing and a third of the funding was coming from redevelopment. So at this point we are having to put things on hold,” said Chaparyan.
A larger scale development will also have to wait. The redevelopment agency acquired an entire block of property adjacent to the new library site.
“We were looking at doing some sort of mixed use development concept there that would involve an entertainment use, restaurants, some level of housing. Well now with the redevelopment tools being taken away from us we cannot continue that effort,” Chaparyan said.
Chaparyan gave some hope to the NRC committee members that their efforts could continue, but in a new form.
“There is a possibility the NRC might become something like the Saugus Action Committee. And as I mentioned to the group last night the future may be more like an advocacy group for the revitalization of Old Town Newhall,” Chaparyan said.