On the Table: A Gun Shop and Plaza Downtown?

A gun shop and an outdoor plaza might bring some big changes downtown. The firearms shop is considering moving to the Pinnacle building on Monterey Road, the first storefront for firearms since Walmart stopped carrying them. Right now there are eight dealers with permits to sell weapons out of their homes and one of them has appeared before city staff to see what would be needed to rent the downtown space.

“If it’s done right, fine,” said Mayor Perry Woodward. “It’s just another retail use. We’re still a rural community in many ways and fishing and hunting are popular here. If you come back and tell me it’s all assault rifles, I might have a different point of view. If it’s done responsibly and within in the law, it serves a need.”

Woodward got to talk about his real dream for downtown Monday for the first time, because he sold a property he owned there that kept him from voting on downtown issues. He wants to knock down the former billiards hall and put a public plaza there with trees, a stage and benches. It would be a place for the community to come together for activities, after which they would shop in businesses catering to them.

“I want to see the day when people in Morgan Hill say they wish they had a downtown like Gilroy’s,” he said. It would require the city to buy the building and the one behind it and knock them down. The billiards hall is now slated to house the Community Media Access Partnership television station now housed at Christopher High  and a computer center for people to study and use desktops.

John Russell, of Rally Round Downtown Gilroy, said he would be happy with a gun shop or any retail, “as long as it’s not another salon or piñata shop.”

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