As Whittier’s centerpiece of redevelopment--the luxurious Hilton Hotel--rises from the earth and nears completion, we should consider the future of redevelopment in our community. The question arises: Where do we go from here?
The first plan that should be given greater priority is the Historic Preservation Element to the General Plan. If Whittier can develop a means of saving historically significant and meaningful buildings, we can continue growing as a whole community, grasping the meaning of the past in the present and planning for the future.
The second plan that could be given higher priority is the Master Plan for the Savage Canyon Landfill. This plan calls for recycling the landfill into a beautiful 40-acre recreation area. If we could implement the first stage of the plan, we would have three additional athletic fields, two more baseball diamonds--and plenty of open space. Let’s develop this extraordinary recreation area, which will save Whittier millions of dollars in park land-acquisition costs. (Whittier already owns the land.)
Finally, Whittier may choose to focus upon the Public Transportation Plan. In addition to our new fixed-route transit system, we can add a recreational loop extension, intercommunity shopper’s shuttle, bus stop improvements and other public transit improvements as discussed in the plan. If we can move to implement this plan, the million dollars in our Proposition A account will be well spent.
On the eve of our centennial, let’s reflect on one of the most important points of Whittier history. Our Quaker founders did not come here in search of El Dorado or a stream full of gold; they left the crowded cities of the East in search of a higher quality of life. A little peace and quiet is what they sought, along with the opportunity to put their values of human fairness and compassion into practice.
Perhaps it is time we recognize this lesson from our history; perhaps it is time we shift into other areas of redevelopment.