Our View: Let’s greet Dorsey Marketplace, not discard it | TheUnion.com

Our View: Let’s greet Dorsey Marketplace, not discard it

The Union Editorial Board

To borrow from a popular Southern phrase, Grass Valley folks don’t say “hi” when passing each other in the Auburn Target.

Many of us shop there. We eat at Auburn restaurants, we frequent its downtown and – you know it’s true – sometimes we venture as far as the Rocklin Walmart.

This retail “leakage” likely will never stop, but we can slow it.

One part of the solution: the Dorsey Marketplace project — a mix of residential and commercial near Highway 49. This development can help slow truant tax dollars that should stay in our community.

There are many reasons why Grass Valley, and Nevada County as a whole, would oppose this project. They’re the reasons folks dislike any project here: more traffic, environmental concerns, adding unaffordable housing and a fear of more homeless folks gathering in the area, for starters.

Before taking a stance of absolute opposition, we’d argue critics of the project should work toward helping shape it, not discard it. Let’s take what could be a positive for this area and work it into its best possible version, not stick our heads in the sand and pretend development will never happen here.

Because development will occur in our community. We should welcome it with a kindly “hello.”

One thing we desperately need here is affordable housing. Promises and handshakes don’t cut it. Deed restrictions, a Section 8 designation or another legal mechanism are necessary to ensure some of the housing in this project is affordable.

We have young, talented people who want to live in our community and can’t pay the basic cost of living. We’re effectively forcing these folks from our county by failing to take concrete action and provide some form of housing they can afford.

Let’s take that action here. The developer would show our community goodwill by committing to provide housing regular people can afford, and it could make a few opponents offer some grudging thanks.

Housing isn’t the only concern. People worry about felling trees and more cars on the roads. They worry about building a shopping center while some Grass Valley shops sit empty.

These issues won’t be solved by prohibiting new development. Business owners won’t suddenly flock to fill empty storefronts if the Dorsey Marketplace never materializes. Trees destroyed by bark beetles, adding to our area’s fire fuels, won’t be removed.

However, our tax dollars will continue to flow down the hill.

This project holds the promise of bringing something of real value to our community. For a moment set aside any cynicism about more vehicles, traffic and drive-thru windows. These are aspects the developer — and us, the public — can mitigate.

Look at the possibility of a project that brings more jobs, more housing and more opportunity for those who need it the most. The Dorsey Marketplace potentially could mean people walk to make their purchases instead of driving. An employee could live within walking distance of his or her job.

Let’s make this project a rallying point for the improvement of our community, not its destruction. Our involvement is essential to making it a success, and our presence at public meetings is necessary to a create a project everyone can live with.

Otherwise we’re back to haunting the aisles of an out-of-town store, sending our tax dollars to other counties and towns.

If that’s the case, at least say “hi” next time you pass us by.

Our View is the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.

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