Tuesday, December 30, 2008
WATT THE DUCK?!
So maybe you noticed the huge hole accross the street from us at Bunny Gunner. Most peoples' reactions are, hey weren't there buildings there a week ago? or what are they going to build there. It is frustrating to answer the later question. It goes something like this, 260 something condos, but not for another 4 years because of the collapse of the housing market. Lately my answer has been, who knows, maybe they're going to sell it. Either way, we're stuck with an empty whole that for the time being, we are enjoying. Yes we like it, the "WATT hole" gives us a beautiful clear view of the train and the snow capped mountains. How nice it would be if they didn't build anything but instead made it a park. Wait, there might be some truth to that comment. The locals, including myself are pushing for some sort of sculpture garden. Even if it is temporary and is behind a fence. Here is my rendition of what would be really ideal:
Some of the other colonists have other ideas about the "WATT hole". This is a take from local correspondent A.S. Ashley. (Pomona Arts Colonists does not necessarily agree with or endorse the following ideas or oppinions). Knock 'em dead Ash...
WATT THE DUCK?!
by A.S. Ashley
The folks from WATT, the makers of the nice vacant lot pit-pond along 2nd Street in the heart of Pomona’s Arts Colony, are finally fashioning a wrought iron fence to go around the property.
Good news, right?
Maybe not, I heard that plywood panels are going to be attached to the fence. It is rumored the panels will be painted by artists, but I don’t know by who or of what. No one is telling anybody anything and the Arts Colony is being left in the lurch.
The problems posed by the panels are: having anything attached to the fence is subject to vandalism; the local police are against having anything block their view of the lot; and I doubt anyone in the Arts Colony is going to be pleased with the area fenced in with plywood, whether it be painted by artists or not. It will look "trashy" in no time.
I have spoken with Watt’s representative to the DPOA (Downtown Pomona Owners Association), as well as some of the financial backers of Watt’s project in Downtown Pomona, about a proposal for a sculpture garden.
Money seems to be their primary concern.
With the WATT/Artisan project on indefinite hold due to the real estate downward trend (after demolishing two blocks of buildings leaving the Arts Colony looking blighted), local businesses, galleries, and artist residents have come away feeling abandoned and betrayed.
The downtown community is not exactly sympathetic to Watt's professed financial woes, especially when one group of Pomona land owners, the Tessier family, has shown tremendous courage in recent months revitalizing downtown with such additions as the PHO Vi restaurant, the Brick Nightclub, renovation of the Opera Garage, the incoming Aladdin Jr. restaurant, and of course, the Granddaddy of them all, The Fox Theater.
At least the Tessier's can't be accused of not believing and investing in the future of downtown Pomona. In contrast, the Watt Co. is now being talked about among locals as cheap and dispassionate.
As far as the sculpture garden, we feel this proposal could fit the bill while waiting for any construction to begin. The garden could serve as a huge attraction for the downtown area, and restore some credibility to the Watt Co.
The city can provide the fill for the pit (the City Manager has already indicated this); the sculptures and security would be sponsored by David Armstrong and AMOCA in setting up the rotating venue, and we have the support of the local community and civic leaders.
We in the colony would like to help put Watt’s best (webbed) foot forward towards our downtown revitalization efforts.
The DPOA (Downtown Pomona Owners Association) is having their board meeting on the fourth Thursday of January, where WATT will give a presentation on the plan for the fence surrounding the vacant lot.
It will be open to the public, and we encourage all interested parties to be in attendance.
Meeting Date: Thursday, Jan 22, 2009
Meeting Location: California Bank and Trust
255 W. Mission Blvd., Pomona, CA 91766
Of course, I intend to voice my concerns about the vacant lot at the next City Council and Planning Commission meetings.
A. S. Ashley
PACA (Pomona Arts Colony Association) Chair