Monday, June 1, 2009
Downtown Galleries Support P-BID
I have lived in Pomona for over 20 years. I am a graduate of Cal Poly Pomona and went through all of my schooling in the PUSD. I have been active in the Arts Colony of Pomona since 1996. Since then I have seen the area grow from a quiet "Ghost Town" to a growing community, and now to a thriving Arts and Music destination. I remember when P-Bid was first announced and considered a really bad idea. I saw it pass and within the first few years, really make a positive difference in the community. Since then, it has really taken off the ground and become the driving force behind the improvement and expansion of the area. DPOA has really become the main advocate of all the small businesses including the restaurants, antique shops, and galleries in the area. Without the help of the promotion, security, and maintenance DPOA provides, the area would still be stuck 5 years back struggling to survive and bring shoppers, and patrons to the businesses.
Susie Eaton and I currently own and operate a small business called Bunny Gunner. It is an art gallery, picture framing shop and sign shop on 2nd St. As a business, we pay into the PBID and are glad to do so. The amount of benefits we obtain from the DPOA are far greater than anything we could do ourselves. Some of the things DPOA provides us small businesses are a great website, security, and maintenance. The website at metropomona.com has become a main draw for people to find out about the area and have many interesting reasons to visit. Security provides a safe environment for businesses to thrive without the worry of break-ins, robbery, homeless presence, and other disturbing elements more present throughout other parts of the city. Maintenance provides for a clean a presentable area which is inviting for new visitors and prospective businesses. I'm not sure what the records say, but you might find the Downtown area to be one of the fastest growing business communities in all of Pomona. New businesses mean lots of new tax dollars benefiting the city, and increase in taxes might have a direct impact on the taxes being paid by the city itself.
If the PBID does not pass, I would expect to see a decline in the downtown area which would have a diverse effect on the whole city. Pomona has had a hard time with it's reputation. It has become infamous from gangs, crime and the CHP officer murder. The downtown area has been one of the main driving forces to turn this image around. With the help of the DPOA, the arts colony and antique row have been successful at turning this negative stereotype around and attracting people from Claremont, Orange County, LA and other surrounding communities to the area. There is no longer the stigma of being shot, mugged or your car being broken into, mainly thanks to the security of the DPOA and the confidence the patrons themselves have in the area.
So I stand in full support of PBID and all it has done to turn the area of Downtown Pomona around and provide for a safe, clean, exciting, and traffic full area for a small business like my own to thrive. Please vote to keep the PBID and the DPOA so I may continue to believe in all the great things Pomona has done for itself.
I would also like to add the fact the we live at our business and have a 24-7 perspective of what goes on in the downtown area. I would like for you to consider asking all others speaking on behalf of the matter if they live in the area and are then fully experienced to comment on the subject.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
-Juan Thorp and Susie Eaton
A.S. Ashley writes:
In two-plus years living in Downtown Pomona, I've seen nearly a half-dozen new restaurants open, empty storefronts filled, the renovation of the Fox Theater, and 30 percent growth in art venues in the Arts Colony.
And that's during these devastating financial times. Thank you, DPOA!
To read more of what Ashley writes about this subject, you can read his article in The Daily Bulletin
The Blue Core Gallery adds:
I am an artist here in the Pomona Art Colony, I moved here in 2001, became a VPD Commissioner when the P-BID was just in the works. I got married and moved away before it took effect, I was gone 5 years and just moved back 3 months ago and was amazed how Pomona had changed. I feel more secure now with the security the DPOA has on force. I have a 3 year old and we visit the Veterans park on a daily basis and to see the security on patrol is wonderful, not to mention the way the DPOA keeps this town clean, the visitors we get from the Metro Night out and other events. I can compare Pomona before the P-BID and after, because I was born and raised here in Pomona, went to all the schools here so I can speak with authority that Mr. Egan and the DPOA needs to be renewed, this town deserves to keep growing in the right direction and removal of the DPOA would put this town back to the state it was in when I left 5 years ago. thank you, Steve Ruiz ex VPD commissioner/artist
And this from Cheryl Bookout:
I have been a resident and director of an arts nonprofit in downtown Pomona since 1999. When the PBID was put in place and the DPOA took action, downtown Pomona took a turn in a long awaited direction...a very positive direction. I've been a member of various committees over the years, the goals were always the same for our downtown business district: a cleaner and safer city, to become a destination city in the greater Southern California community to experience art and culture and attract new commerce. These things are happening. If we should suddenly lose the DPOA, we would be thrown back to the days of dirty streets, graffiti on the windows and a less safe place to be. With the renovation of the Fox Theater as a music venue, the youth music crowd will be an ongoing part of our community. With this comes higher visibility for the area and a greater need for all the things that the DPOA provides.
Downtown Pomona needs the DPOA now, more than ever.
-J. Cheryl Bookout