VENTURA : Council to Consider Plan for Downtown

The Ventura City Council tonight will consider approving a long-term plan that outlines the strategy to revive Ventura's downtown, once the bustling commercial center of the county and now a faded area with a homeless problem.

The proposed Downtown Specific Plan calls for increasing the number of retail businesses, hotels and restaurants to attract more tourists. Landmarks would be promoted, streets would be spruced up and strict design standards for buildings would be imposed.

The plan would also allow the development of apartments and condominiums in the downtown area, and storefronts along Main Street would be renovated.

Some downtown business owners are objecting to the proposal because they say they will be forced out by the city's plans to place housing in commercial areas. At least five businesses have submitted formal letters of protest to the city.

During its heyday, the downtown area in the 1940s was a booming center of commercial, political and cultural activity. Businesses, however, have been deserting the area for decades because more recent development has taken place on the city's east end.

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