NORWALK -- An economic development forum was held at City Hall on Tuesday, giving residents and business representatives a peek into what projects lie ahead in Norwalk’s near future.
The forum was held in the U.S. Constitution room to around thirty attendees, and was moderated by City Manager Jesus Gomez and Community Development Director Michael Garcia.
Gomez opened up by establishing the three goals that City Council has given him in terms of city development.
“One is economic development, infrastructure which is really is streets, and third is public safety,” said Gomez. “Today is just an overall overview. What the City Council will do is they will prioritize for us, for me, some of the economic nodes…that have been selected, and they'll prioritize those 10.”
According to Gomez, City will likely focus working on the top three or four developments, however he later added that some projects may also develop organically.
“It does take resources in terms of staff time, it takes resources financially because we have to develop either specific plans or a more detailed plan in those areas with more civic engagement, more community engagement to be able to deliver whatever development is going to be proposed.”
In no particular order, the ten potential areas to be developed include:
- Civic Center / Entertainment District
- Professional Office Development Center
- California Youth Authority
- Tank Farm
- Front Street
- San Antonio Drive / Firestone Boulevard
- Alondra and Pioneer Boulevards
- 105 Freeway and Studebaker Road,
- Five Points
- and the 605 Freeway and Firestone Blvd.
“We do see that a lot of activity could occur within the civic center area, just given the available land and interest from property owners that are in that area” said Garcia.
“The California Youth Authority is a real important property. We looked at each individual area, looked at the zoning, looked at the ingress egress into that area. California Youth Authority is something that we really want to make sure that we go to the state and we tell them we want first right of refusal on that property. Not that we’re going to develop it on our own; we would bring in a partner. It would be a public private partnership.”
As well as with the California Youth Authority, Garcia added that they also “we want to control our own destiny” with the tank farm.
Garcia described the Alondra / Pioneer area as “exciting.”
“There’s a lot of property there,” said Garcia. “The people that own that property…we’re trying to get them to expand their vision. They were going to come in with housing. [We said] ‘We want to see what you can do to tie in Cerritos College and the high school together.’ We’ve been talking with Norwalk / La Mirada (School District) and, in particular, that adult school their and what they can do.”
“Anything they would do would have to work with that development hopefully, and the sharing of money with the school district here.”
He added that there is a desire to focus on Firestone Boulevard.
“We get a lot of attention and development interest from different folks who are saying even though the 5 cut off the direct access onto Firestone when they were doing their project, the City’s got ‘good bones’ in that area.”
Garcia says that each potential development area was analyzed in terms of strengths, weaknesses, potential opportunities, and threats.