Revitalizing Newhall: The sky's the limit!Richard "Doc" Rioux · October 8, 1993
Every time I go to Disneyland, I come away feeling as if we would all be better off if the Disney corporation were running the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
An average of 50,000 people enter Disneyland on a typical summer day. Clerks smile and remain courteous, custodians are everywhere picking up cups and cigarette butts, and the toilets are kept clean. Food is abundant in the restaurants, where the window sills are dusted, the chandeliers get polished and curtains stay neatly pressed. People tour New Orleans Square in safety, teen-agers have plenty to do in Frontierland, and no one seems to miss the absence of a liquor store on Main Street.
A celebrated monorail carries passengers from the Disneyland Hotel to the park, graffiti is not tolerated as art in Toontown, and there are no muggers on the trains -- which run on time from one attraction to another. And guess what? Adolescent critters of a two-legged "gang-banger" variety are not permitted to disrupt life in the Country Bear Playhouse.
As I was walking down Main Street USA admiring how sharp everything looked after forty years, our own downtown Newhall came to mind. I wish Councilman George Pederson were with me, I thought. He's interested in revitalizing the town of Newhall. Maybe he could talk to the Disney people about expanding on the revitalization plan just released by Oberdorfer and Associates. Or, even better still, George could talk to the people at The Newhall Land and Farming Company about taking on a new project.
After all, no one has done more to improve the quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley than Newhall Land. Even the seven most fun-loving ("Heigh-ho, heigh-ho") of the company's critics (John, Lynne, Ed, Pat, Allan, Jill and Skip) have to admit that whatever projects these "Pirates of the Carribean" have undertaken, they have completed with a great deal of creativity and skill.
The New Town Master Plan that created Valencia produced seven parks, twelve miles of paseos, 58 community recreation centers and two golf courses. The company also helped establish College of the Canyons, California Institute of the Arts (a Disney project), Six Flags Magic Mountain and Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital. Take a walk through the Valencia Town Center and just imagine what could be done if Gary "The Prince" Cusumano were asked to take on another project that might be called "Old Town Newhall." God knows, the possibilities might be more enchanting than the dreams of Cinderella. Let your imagination run free. Wave your magic wand: "Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo."
Picture William S. Hart Park filled with children's rides, crowds shopping in refurbished stores along San Fernando Road and the Western Walk of Stars joined by a monorail to Magic Mountain and the Valencia Town Center.
Envision East Newhall transformed into a Mexican village where real people are making crafts and gifts for the shops in Old Town. Elegant hotels line San Fernando Road between the railroad tracks and Highway 14. The Los Angeles Museum of Western Art and Culture has relocated here. Five thousand permanent jobs are available, and millions of dollars in revenues are generated annually. The sky's the limit!
I'm excited! Let's do it! How about it, Tom "Pinnochio" Lee? And you, too, George "Geppetto" Pederson? Let's turn this valley into one of those really happy places on Earth for a million tourists a year to visit.
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©RICHARD RIOUX | PUBLISHED BY PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
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