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Mission Gorge poised for big boom

Development is slated for the area
March 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Mission Gorge is poised to boom with the planned 375- acre RiverPark development and thousands of new housing units set to go up, but some Allied Gardens and Grantville residents are worried about being pushed out."I would like to see the city take into account the cumulative effect of allowing multiple projects without the infrastructure," Marilyn Reed, a former member of the Grantville Redevelopment Advisory Board, told The San Diego Union-Tribune.

Reed, who has lived on Seaman Street, a few blocks east of Mission Gorge Road, for more than 20 years said she always asks developers "where the children are going to play."

A community meeting held last week on plans for a 444-unit apartment complex at a Mission Gorge Road mobile-home park drew an angry crowd, the Union- Tribune reported. Arch-stone-Smith expects to evict more than 100 mobile-home owners, mostly seniors who live on fixed incomes.

Nearby at the Superior Ready Mix quarry, RiverPark at Mission Gorge -- about 375 acres of shops, offices, apartments and open space on the banks of the San Diego River -- is planned.'

Farther south off Mission Gorge Road, developers are working on two projects that would add up to 1,700 units of housing thousands of square feet of retail, office and restaurant space.

"The condos and developers have been encroaching on an area that's kind of been a hidden gem," Mim Dornbirer, a retired nurse who has lived in Allied Gardens for 30 years, told the newspaper. "It doesn't have the fanciest homes, but it is a wonderfully convenient location."

For decades, growth in the area was scattershot. Allied Gardens was built in the 1950s, when cows roamed the hillside where Kaiser Permanente Medical Center now treats hundreds of patients a day. Homes sold for $12,500.

The construction boom took off after 2005, when City Councilman Jim Madaffer helped establish a redevelopment zone in which new property tax revenues -- which normally go to the county -- could be used for development. In a case now headed for trial, the county sued the city over the Grantville redevelopment plan, because it stands to lose millions of dollars.

Some merchants opposed labeling the redevelopment zone as "blighted," fearing the city was about to use its power of eminent domain to seize private property. Madaffer told the newspaper people had nothing to worry about, and that city planners were working on a master plan for the area.

"I think people would like to see the river again," said RiverPark consultant Kristen McDade Byrne. "It's not as if they are losing a beautiful piece of land. People aren't too attached to the industrial use." She was referring to the ReadyMix quarry.

Rob Hutsel, executive director of the San Diego River Park Foundation, has been working with RiverPark planners.

"We're looking for whatever proposals that have accounted for the needs of wildlife," he told the Union-Tribune. "And what are the opportunities for people to connect with the river?"

 

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