Downtown Issues Are The Focus of Mayor’s Meeting

Mayor will discuss ways to help businesses during 10-month
Gilroy – The city’s plans to keep downtown businesses afloat during a 10-month overhaul construction project on Monterey Street will be among the topics the mayor and city staff tackle early next month.

On Dec. 6, Mayor Al Pinheiro will discuss marketing plans to help draw customers to the downtown area between January and Oct. 2006, when officials will shut down the city’s main drag between Fourth and Sixth streets to rip up the winding median and install new sidewalks, lamp-posts and trees.

The “streetscape” project is a centerpiece of the city’s efforts to breathe new life into downtown. The forum also will touch on council member’s decision to extend the “fee-waiver” program, which frees developers working on downtown projects from up-front construction fees. The policy is widely credited for attracting dozens of new development proposals for the downtown area, several of which are already under construction.

Pinheiro said the upcoming forum represents a chance to take stock of the major changes in the downtown since he held the first mayor’s forum 16 months ago.

“That was a starting point of saying ‘Let’s make the downtown a focal point,’ ” Pinheiro said.

In addition to the streetscape and fee waiver program, the meeting will focus on the new Downtown Specific Plan, downtown building permits, un-reinforced masonry buildings, and future downtown projects.

The forum will be held twice on Dec. 6 at the Gilroy Chamber of Commerce, 7471 Monterey St. A morning forum takes place from 7:30 to 9:30am, and an evening forum takes place from 7 to 8:30pm.

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