Opinion: "Imagine" the Mall?
Be a dreamer!

By Linda Ford Chairperson, Elk Grove Coalition Advocating Proper Planning (EGCAPP) The Elk Grove Promenade - abandoned for over two yea...

By Linda Ford
Chairperson, Elk Grove Coalition Advocating Proper Planning (EGCAPP)

The Elk Grove Promenade - abandoned for over two years
What’s to become of Elk Grove’s Mall? Most don’t even call it by the name it was given by now bankrupt General Growth Properties (GGP), "The Elk Grove Promenade." Most still refer to it as “Lent Ranch Mall.” We all know where Lent Ranch is with Bob Lent’s famous barn where many an event is held.

From Governor Jerry Brown wanting to halt redevelopment agencies to Elk Grove City Council member Sophia Scherman stating emphatically at the January 26 Elk Grove City Council meeting, “I don’t want to hear another thing about the mall,” we are left to wonder if our mall is dead even before it lived.

Dead Suburban Malls.” This is just one excerpt:
“Failed malls offer an unparalleled opportunity to bring services to suburban neighborhoods,” [professor of architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology] Ellen Dunham-Jones says. “The idea is to demolish a dead mall and build the downtown area a suburb never had,” she said. “Three or four stories of apartments above the retail on the ground floor, providing an option where people can walk to most of their daily needs. And they have more opportunities for social interaction. They get a more urban lifestyle, but in a familiar place.”
Many a citizen has approached the city council at public comment with the same idea. We really have some visionaries in our city that pay attention and bravely come forward with their suggestions for the council to consider.

What we do know is that the land around the mall is earmarked for a big box Mecca. Will those developers actually deliver now that the mall sits like an albatross? Would it be a big gamble on their part? Let’s hope the city council can make the developers realize that we need those stores along with a high- tech business park.

To coincide, industry will be changing drastically over the next decade. That area is also ripe for a state-of-the-art master planned industrial business park. This way we can attract diverse business and industrial users.

But first, we need to get on with the big box Mecca that is slated for that area. Wal-Mart Supercenter, maybe a Costco, a Sam’s Club, some outlet stores, and restaurants.

Elk Grove must become an ideal place for business, industry and commerce. But before we can do that, they must have a place to go. Elk Grove has a highly skilled workforce and we owe it to all of us to get started now. We cannot wait for the big debate of whether or not the Sphere of Influence (SOI) should go forward, or the word of the future, “annexation.”

We can’t forget about the mall! We cannot "let it be." It is there, and something needs to be done. Our leaders are reminded every day and most assuredly, they need to hear your ideas. Well, at least four of them do!

"Imagine all the people . . ."

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1 comment

Insania said...

"...providing an option where people can walk to most of their daily needs. ..."

The combination of Reynen & Bardis contributions to the city council, along with city council members who [likely] only know how to travel by private automobile, have created a "city" that can only be transversed by vehicle.

Creating a living arrangement, however small, where people have the option to walk for their daily needs would be the hallmark of any climate action plan. To build a city where people don't require the use of the car for every facet of living 1) builds better communities, 2) preserves open spaces, 3) allows members of our city who cannot afford the costs of multiple car ownership an option that doesn't currently exist, 4)is not energy intensitve and not based entirely on liberal access to cheap energy and 5)can be, perhaps, sustainable going forward.

Think about 30 years from now. We can be assured that we will have access to substantially less fossil fuels. Do you really see all of Whitelock Parkway and all that southern sprawl operating on batteries? Give people options to not have to use as much energy in the first place.

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