And the Orange County Register lets loose, calling it a “blueprint for a slum”. The paper’s research on redevelopment in Santa Ana found that it has done much more harm than good. They’re not surprised that city officials have brought back the Renaissance Plan, even though opposition from residents shelved it last year:
Don’t believe these officials, who continue to follow the redevelopment playbook of using subsidies, eminent domain and city planning to create a supposedly pedestrian-friendly downtown. But recent Register news coverage shows that city officials are trying to fix a problem that’s largely of their own making. Santa Ana officials have turned many of the city’s neighborhoods into what one councilwoman calls slums largely because of their aggressive policy of buying properties, bulldozing the homes and creating empty lots. Officials admit that they acquired the properties without any specific plan in place for what to do with them.
So now the city is pockmarked with 60 or more recently vacant lots, which have sat around collecting trash and becoming a magnet for homeless people and crime. They are terrible eyesores, and the land acquisitions – achieved sometimes by threatening the use of eminent domain – have squandered $22 million in tax funds.
It would be nice if city officials would use the experience of past failures as an impetus to try something else…perhaps something like Anaheim?