For those of you who have been following the recertification process of the downtown Pomona PBID, and even those who haven't been following it, the opinion piece in todays's Daily Bulletin is a fair assessment of the situation.
Pomona needs a downtown group
Created: 05/26/2009 07:20:23 PM PDT
As an individual living in Downtown Pomona, I have no problem imagining what life in our downtown area would be without the Downtown Pomona Owners Association (DPOA).
To date, this is the fourth downtown arts colony I have lived in, and I have seen the best and the worst during the revitalization efforts of their respective downtowns.
My experience has borne witness to many of the elements that are required for the successful turnaround of a blighted downtown.
The first is safety: It doesn't matter what an area offers if it can't ensure the safety of its tenants and patrons.
The second is cleanliness and general maintenance: A trash-filled community is a trashy community.
From there merchants can get down to the business of doing business, free from nuisance and criminal threats in a clean and safe environment, with prospective new businesses eyeing the benefits of moving into the area.
In two-plus years living in Downtown Pomona, I've seen nearly a half-dozen new restaurants open, empty storefronts filled, the renovation of the Fox Theater, and 30 percent growth in art venues in the Arts Colony.
And that's during these devastating financial times. Thank you, DPOA!
The third is marketing: A lot more needs to done in this area, especially due to the reputation Pomona has been living with for years. Therefore it is not surprising that many improvements in downtown are still a well-kept secret.
But the DPOA is working hard to inform folks on what Downtown Pomona has to offer (please go to: www.metropomona.com and see for yourself).
For those of you that haven't been to Downtown Pomona recently, be prepared to be very surprised, because whatever you thought before, you'll find yourself gladly mistaken.
For first-timers, I'd suggest coming to two monthly events: Second Saturday Art Walk, or Last Saturdays Metro Night Out.
Literally thousands of folks come downtown with their friends and families to enjoy the art, Farmer's Market, music, restaurants and other entertainment venues.
The other important element the DPOA brings to the downtown is a voice: as a vested ambassador of the Downtown area to City Hall, items brought before the City Council or city commissions concerning the downtown area are immediately addressed by the DPOA. And through meetings with landowners, merchants and residents, the DPOA formulates opinions and plans of action that best serve the downtown area and the city as a whole.
Sadly, it just so happens that the DPOA's P-BID (Property Based Improvement District) re-certification process is occurring now, when the DPOA and the Downtown Revitalization plan are hitting their stride and gaining momentum (please take the time to Google what P-BIDs are, and how they have effectively changed more than 1,200 communities and districts across the United States).
If the P-BID disappears, so does the DPOA.
This could be devastating, with the city having to make drastic fiscal cutbacks. It is not far-fetched to imagine Pomona's downtown area going tragically adrift.
I would encourage the residents of Pomona to contact your council members, and ask them to pledge their support for the DPOA's P-BID re-certification (the city accounts for 26 percent of the P-BID district's land holdings; therefore the city's vote is essential).
The DPOA's efforts are not only good for Pomona's Downtown Revitalization Plan, but for all of Pomona ... for the future success of the city will grow from the center out, with Downtown Pomona being a superb model for the city's forward growth and prosperity.
A.S. Ashley is a resident of Downtown Pomona and chairman of the Pomona Arts Colony Association.