Jobs creation seen as key to revitalizing Hills Flat area |

Jobs creation seen as key to revitalizing Hills Flat area

Business vacancies have stripped the area around the Idaho-Maryland Road and East Main Street intersection of jobs and revenue and Grass Valley took a step to rebuild the 20-acre plot Tuesday night.

Business owners and City Council representatives talked about the need to brand and redevelop the area, hoping to create jobs and stimulate the economy in the mostly industrial sector. The council unanimously approved a study on the area, dubbed the Hills Flat Business District, which outlines plans to reinvigorate it.

“We’re looking at creating a business district there in an attempt to attract some new developments and primarily to create some jobs,” said Community Planning Director Joe Heckel.

He said the creation of a Hills Flat Business District – named for the longtime lumber company – could help to forge an identity for the area and assist with planning in the future. He also said the city could assist in finding grant funds to help clean up some environmental contaminants in the area and in using redevelopment dollars to refurbish the area’s streetscapes.

One of the important roles a business district could take on would be in marketing and advertising the area jointly. The idea of organizing businesses in a common interest is commendable, said Grass Valley Downtown Association chief Howard Levine.

A removal of redevelopment restrictions could help to create jobs in the Idaho-Maryland/ East Main Street area, said Hills Flat general manager Jeff Pardini.

“The more restrictions we can take off, the better we all will be and the more business we can add,” Pardini said. Past restrictions have hampered business growth there, he said.

Revitalizing the area is important to the city, said Mayor Lisa Swarthout.

“Years ago it was a very viable district and since then some businesses have gone out,” Swarthout said. “I absolutely think recreating an identity for them is important. I look at that property as the gateway to downtown Grass Valley.”

The city must retain some restrictions to add value to the zone, said Councilman Chauncey Poston, adding the area didn’t need drive-through restaurants.

“We don’t need another burger basin,” he said, in reference to the Glenbrook Basin’s many fast-food eateries. The council agreed to accept the study on the condition no restaurant drive-throughs be added in the area.

To contact Staff Writer Kyle Magin, e-mail or call 9530) 477-4239.

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