I am the Chair of the Rockwood Business Coalition (RBC) and have an ear to what goes on with the business community and what the community cares about. Our agendas have focused on the major projects going on here, and I'd like to briefly touch on them, each with a blog.
Last meeting we invited Lonnie Roberts to talk about the building of the East County Justice Facility in our community. Lonnie explained that the Rockwood Bowling Alley will be the site of the new justice facility and is expected to break ground 2009. This site will include DA office, sheriff's office and multiple courtrooms, booking facility and victim services. The RBC takes interest in this project from many angles and asked questions accordingly.
1)How will it affect the surrounding area?
Lonnie said he has been told by the legal community that they expect many attorney's offices to relocate to this area with the buidling. Lonnie also sited the development that occurred in a similar project that Fred Bruning, CenterCal Development did in California and cited increased development with that project.
(Personal comment: Fred Bruning's project in California was a full development that included a multi-use site including movie theatre, etc, and not a lone-standing courthouse, and I think that compares apples gto oranges.)
Terry McCall, City Finance Director mentioned that this project is on the City's radar as they develop the Cultural Marketplace across the street also. It is not the City's "ideal" of the look they are going for in the area, but the City will have input.
Businesses that have or will leave the area with this purchase: Kentucky Fried Chicken, Maid Brigade, Woodworking Business, Dry Cleaner. Taco Bell will stay.
2) How will those arrested be handled?
Persons from all over East County will be brought to this site to be booked. If there is jail space available they will be transported downtown. If there is not jailspace, they will be booked and let go on the streets of Rockwood.
3) Will there be increased police presence and will this bring a safer community?
Opinions were mixed on this. There will be more sheriff's obviously traveling the pathway to and from the Justice Facility, but not necessarily increased patrols of these areas by the sheriff. How much this will deter crime could not be guaranteed.
The business community has asked to be involved in the process, and Lonnie has committed that businesses will have a voice through the process. Also in attendance at this meeting were both candidates for his position in the next election. Hopefully, as the baton passes from Lonnie to our next District 4 County Commissioner we can have consistent input from our local businesses who will be directly affected by the short term construction, the surrounding environment and the long term effects.
More information on this project can be learned by contacting County Commissioner Lonnie Roberts' office.