NEW LOOK FOR DOWNTOWN LANCASTER CITY TO START REVITALIZATION PLAN.
LANCASTER - Downtown Lancaster will be revitalized as a pedestrian-friendly destination that will attract lively crowds under a plan announced Monday by city officials.
The city is investing $571,000 to prepare a plan and conduct the necessary environmental studies to revitalize Lancaster Boulevard and its surrounding areas between 10th Street West and Sierra Highway. It is expected to take about a year to prepare the plan.
``We need to transform Lancaster Boulevard into a destination that draws people,'' Mayor Frank Roberts said. ``Now we are going to do it.''
The city hired RBF Consulting to lead the effort. The company is working on other planning efforts for the city, including the project to revitalize the areas immediately to the north and to the northeast of the downtown business district.
Among the trends being seen nationwide that could apply to Lancaster's case is the desire for simpler lifestyles, particularly for the ``gray tsunami'' of aging baby boomers. Part of that includes having buildings in which the lower floor is for offices or retail and the upper levels for residential units, said Al Zelinka of RBF Consulting.
``The trend is toward single- and two-person households,'' Zelinka said. ``They want to be close to shopping and to civic and cultural amenities.''
City officials and the consultants said there will be a public outreach push to help craft the plan. The effort will involve soliciting suggestions from the business community, including the Antelope Valley Chambers of Commerce, the Board of Trade and the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance, among others.
``We hope to engage the ideas of all of the business interests that have a stake in our downtown business district,'' City Manager Bob LaSala said.
In decades past, Lancaster Boulevard was the focal point of the city. For most of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s it was about the only place to shop. But in the 1980s, the boulevard began losing businesses to new shopping centers and a couple of economic downturns.
The city invested millions in Lancaster Boulevard in the 1990s, building the Lancaster Performing Arts Center and Metrolink train station and facilitating the construction of a new county library and sheriff's station. Those buildings, along with the banks that have arrived in recent years, will be among the assets the plan can use in helping reshape the area, city officials said.
Jim Skeen, (661) 267-5743
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jan 24, 2006|
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