READER’S EDITORIAL: A YEAR DOWN THE ROAD—OR IN THIS CASE, ALPINE BOULEVARD
For three years, the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) had a SRPL Ad Hoc Subcommittee...No one is quite sure what it did, since it never had agendas or minutes.
By Lou Russo
September 4, 2011 (Alpine) -- Alpine is suffering especially hard in this recession. This is due to having Alpine Blvd. dug up for Sunrise PowerLink (SRPL). While the entire county and state struggle to overcome hard economic times, businesses in Alpine find themselves not only having to deal with a poor economy, but also with daily traffic jams/delays, noise, dirt, etc. from a power line being placed underground through the business district.
Some residents resigned themselves to this construction with hopes of a silver lining--that Alpine Blvd. will look and function better when it is all done. They may be deluding themselves, though.
For three years, the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) had a SRPL Ad Hoc Subcommittee. Three years. No one is quite sure what it did, since it never had agendas or minutes. Let's take a minute and take a look at what its Chairman, George Barnett, said would happen versus what the reality is a year after his communication to the community of Alpine.
This is a communication by George Barnett of a year ago, 10/2010, in the Alpine Community Network: http://www.alpinecommunitynetwork.com/2010/10/possible-changes-to-alpine...
Let's look at what George said, and where we are a year later.
George 10/2010: "The County obtained two different sets of grant monies for which to pay for further studying the improvement of Alpine's down town. On(e) set of funding paid for consultants to prepare a visualization study of what Alpine Boulevard might look like if it were to be improved to the concepts the Revitalization workshops."
Actual 9/2011: According to the County Presentation at the ACPG last month, the final design will not be done until 12/2012.
George 10/2010: "The current PER has become the basis of negotiating with SDGE, and they have agreed to pay for perhaps 95% of all the work in order to mitigate the impacts of the power project on Alpine."
Actual 9/2011: At last month's ACPG meeting, it was revealed that SRPL will pay for only 60% of Streetscape, e.g. only for 60% of curbs and sidewalks between Victoria and Tavern. Of the area not already done, for example excluding the area already done in front of Albertsons, the County will have to pay for the rest (except, of course, the County has NO money to do that). Please note this does NOT include any "beautification", e.g. planting trees, etc.
George 10/2010: "So where we are today, is that Alpine has the real opportunity to improve Alpine Boulevard in both appearance and its ability to handle traffic - and to get it paid for by SDGE."
Actual 9/2011: See above. Also, take a drive by Alpine Elementary and see if it really is improved in appearance. (My personal "ugly" award goes to the metal bridge across the small gully right in front. But please, don't let me influence your opinion.)
George 10/2010: "Concurrent to all of this work is the under-grounding of all overhead utilities along Alpine Boulevard at the same time everything else is being constructed. To this end the county has approved the formation of an Alpine Underground Utilities District and has allocated $4 million to the effort."
Actual 9/2011: Ahhhh, where did the $4 million go? I don't see any poles coming down and at the last ACPG meeting, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) affirmed they are NOT undergrounding the current lines.
George 10/2010: "But that is not the end. Revitalization and the APG is already working with the county on performing a detailed block-by-block town plan, and in getting more sports fields built. That sort of work will require grant writing by the town and by the county for design work, then property purchases, then actual construction. If Alpiners at that future time wish to proceed with direct beautification projects and with additional sports fields, citizens will have to determine how that work will be funded. There is no provisions in existing county ordinances to raise funds or tax for that kind of improvements. It will be up to the residents. One way of funding the maintenance and operation of beautification and sports projects is for voters to approve a ballot measure to establish a beautification district and a sports district. That means taxing in some manner. But it's way too early in the process to start looking at funding. The first concrete steps are in getting the Alpine Boulevard improvements finalized and built."
Actual 9/2011: I have seen NO plans whatsoever, especially for sports fields. How does everyone feel about taxing ourselves for a "...beautification district and a sports district..."? (Hint: How do you like that you taxed yourself for a new high school that isn't happening?)
Is it just me, or do some of you think that the ACPG/Mr. Barnett didn't take full advantage of the opportunity put forth by SRPL. How many of you agree that for years of having our main street dug up, for a lifetime of ruined views, we got a "good deal" from Mr. Barnett and ACPG?
Lou Russo is a member of the Alpine Community Planning Group. The opinions expressed in this editorial reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of its author. To submit an editorial for consideration, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Readers may also post comments in the comments section at the end of this reader’s editorial.