music in the park san jose

Our neighbor’s downtown is a hotbed of activity these days.
Gilroy has some positive signs and happenings
– like the opening of Happy Dog Pizza Co. and the steady
resurgence of the dual dining options at Old City Hall.
Our neighbor’s downtown is a hotbed of activity these days. Gilroy has some positive signs and happenings – like the opening of Happy Dog Pizza Co. and the steady resurgence of the dual dining options at Old City Hall. But in Morgan Hill things are looking better all the time. Despite the tepid economy, our neighbors are operating on the premise that “if you build it they will come.”

Last year Morgan Hill collected more than 20 suggested projects proposed by business people with confidence in this historic quarter. Most revolved around the official downtown plan of retail, commercial and residential – mixed use is the cry of the day for suburban planners.

All the applicants need, generally, is a small infusion of money or fees waived. Last Wednesday, the City Council approved handouts to four projects that promise to get off the ground fast. The money came from a $3 million pot of Redevelopment Agency money reserved for the occasion.

Other businesses have gone ahead and opened on their own.

Recovering from the 2002 fire that destroyed their Madrone restaurant, the Peña family reopened the Sinaloa Mexican Café downtown, giving a big boost to the area. Maurizio’s Italian Cuisine will open soon, across the street from Sinaloa. BookSmart has added a card, gift and flower shop next door called The Love Bug, filling the gap left by Carole’s Hallmark.

The old movie theater/restaurant next to Rosy’s at the Beach will become a sports bar and the police building will soon turn into a brewpub and anchor the northern gateway.

Down the street the little yellow house near the Methodist Church has been taken over by roving artists, which, when the Art Guild opens soon, should deepen the art/antique/book/food image quaint, bustling downtowns seem to thrive on.

Besides these charms, restless diners can find a range of ethnic restaurants already open for business, from Thai to Japanese and Chinese plus more traditional offerings and one-of-a-kind shops not found in big-box cities. (Yes, Gilroyans that would be us.)

One question mark hovers for Morgan Hill: the downtown mall has been sold and the Granada Theater leased for 30 years to Manou Mobedshahi. Until he decides what will work for that large chunk of real estate between East Second and East First streets and until work is complete and new or refreshed businesses open, the block will remain in limbo.

But, overall, it is heartening to see that people do care about Morgan Hill’s downtown, the five-block area that gives the town its soul. Not every town is so lucky. Hopefully, our city leaders will understand what’s lacking in our town and continue efforts to revitalize and renew.

Gilroy needs a downtown that can attract residents from the Northwest Quad and beyond. It’s really the only gaping hole in our beautiful town.

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