Ripe for redevelopment |

Ripe for redevelopment

The Idaho-Maryland Road-East Main Street roundabout set for construction this summer gives the city a rare opportunity to revitalize the surrounding area filled with vacant buildings, Grass Valley city leaders said Monday.

City leaders toured the proposed roundabout location, a vacant lot next to Maria’s Restaurant on East Main Street, and several others sites as a review of potential improvement projects. The properties are within the city’s redevelopment district, which includes the downtown, parts of Idaho-Maryland Road, South Auburn Street and Colfax Avenue.

At a future council meeting, city leaders are expected to consider a $10 million revenue bond to pay for new redevelopment projects.

“We need to decide what would be better here,” said Councilwoman Lisa Swarthout, as she stood in front of a shuttered Hills Flat Lumber building that has been closed for nearly a year.

Hills Flat Lumber closed its longtime building next to the busy intersection and opened off of Railroad Avenue above Idaho-Maryland Road last April.

Several property owners of vacant buildings, including the former Weaver Auto and Truck Center on East Main Street, are waiting to see how the roundabout is constructed, city officials said.

“There’s really a lot of pieces here that are prime for building,” said Councilman Dan Miller. Some of the buildings would be torn down, he added.

Anything done near the roundabout will have circulation constraints for property owners, because the city’s right of way expands with the roundabout, said interim City Administrator Jeff Foltz.

But Foltz and other city leaders agreed the city needs to become aggressive and find out what can be done to improve the nearby area.

The roundabout brings an opportunity for higher quality buildings and more property tax revenue, Foltz said. Public-private partnerships could be part of the development improvements, he said.

A meeting of property owners in the immediate area could help gauge what their thoughts are to improve the area, Swarthout said.

Council members also looked at what could be done to beautify city-owned property next to Maria’s Restaurant.

The restaurant plans to expand its existing building toward Richardson Street, and the city would look at landscaping improvements going up the dilapidated hillside, Foltz said. A right turn lane onto Richardson Street also could be considered, officials said.


To contact Staff Writer Greg Moberly, e-mail or call 477-4234.

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