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Corona Historic Preservation

Society 

Answers for City Council Candidates 2020

1.

The City's motto is "To Cherish Our Past, To Plan Our Future". From a historical perspective, what does the motto mean to you and if you are elected, what specific actions do you plan to take in the next four years to protect and preserve our remaining historical resources and heritage?

  I have always thought this was the perfect motto for CHPS.  To cherish out past is to preserve our past.  This is done through research, publication, and community involvement.  

  2014, I started the History of Corona Facebook page and have grown the “likes” to 5,000 strong.  Through this avenue of social media, not only is the history of our city shared broadly, but it is able to be more searched out on Google as well as the history  can be expanded upon in the comments by the citizens who lived it.   

    The Heritage Room at the library houses most of Corona’s history.  Jennifer Marlatt is the city employee who oversees this room.  She is smart, educated with a Master’s Degree and she truly cares about Corona’s history.  

  That said, located in the back of the Heritage Room are countless pictures, post cards, documents, coins, and other artifacts that need to be shared with the public.  It is true that they are being well preserved, but they need to be digitally shared.  A pathway going forward needs to be put in place where our citizens see all of our history that is being stored in the back of the Heritage Room.

2.

Blighted conditions in Corona’s central core continue. Please provide specific plans you envision to revive historic neighborhoods, homes and yards in order to protect historic resources for future generations.

    It takes love and standards to preserve a historic neighborhood.  The homeowner buying the house must have desire and resources to restore the old houses.  The city has to help with the Mills Act and strong historic guidelines put in place.  No doubt the grant program from CHPS has helped immensely, but the homeowners and the city both have to want it.

    Additionally, we have a Grand Blvd that is loved by all.  Should our city plan events on Grand, then the desire increases.  Car clubs, parades, 5K’s and 10K’s are all examples of how we could promote not only the Blvd, but the historic neighborhoods in and adjacent to the circle.

    One last comment on this question.  Currently the city owns the old railroad depot.  We as citizens, can’t allow this treasure to disappear.  Every effort needs to be done to preserve and save the depot.

3.

What is your opinion of the establishment of a Cultural Heritage Board (as in Riverside or Redlands), a Historic Preservation Commission (Pasadena), or Historical Commission (Norco,) to make recommendations to the City Council and oversee proposed changes to all properties currently considered as historic resources on the Historic Resources Inventory List or the City of Corona’s Register of Historic Resources?

We needed a Historical Commission 75 years ago, we need it today and I will make it a priority to get us there.  Pasadena has an incredible historical commission.  If we model their efforts, we can then function on a historic level such as other cities like Orange, Redlands and Claremont.

4.

Corona's Historic Core will be under tremendous pressure in the coming years as Corona's Downtown will undergo revitalization for the second time. How will you ensure commercial structures pay homage to our shared history? What are your feelings about making sure that such commercial projects are required to buffer commercial-residential impacts with transitional parking structures utilizing underground parking, ground level parking, landscaping or parking garages that are enclosed by the buildings?

The downtown is tricky because our city has already entered into development agreements with Lab Holdings on the re-development.  I have spoken often from the podium at Council meeting asking to be involved, but those requests have fallen on def ears.

      Should I be involved, the first step would be to make an all out effort to save the clock.  For 115 years the clock has hung on 6th Street and Main.  Although the clock appears worn down now, with a little TLC, it can be brought back to life.

    From what I am seeing so far in the renderings that have been released, historical elements have been ignored.  Our current leaders have taken the posture of let the Lab do what the Lab wants to do and go from there.  It is sad really.  Should I be elected, I hope to bring change to the design process.  

    I would like to say this.  The potential for a historic downtown is still achievable.  If our Community Development Director and Council choose to push the developer to maintain and improve upon the historic standards that are in place, that is when we can bring back historical standards to the downtown area.

5.

In Corona, many historically significant homes still stand in neighborhoods that need help to be safe and attractive. What ideas do you have for ensuring that new infill construction is sympathetic with the historic district in which it is located and complements existing historic resources?

In 2011, my wife and I purchased a 1913 Craftsman home on the corner of E. Grand and Garretson.  What we learned during the remodel is that all of the same construction materials that existed 100 years ago, exist today.

  There is no reason why houses can not be built to look historical and still comply with building code.  The Community Development Director, Planning Commission, and the City Council need to be the stewards that assure especially infill projects comply with historic standards.

© 2020 Tom Richins.

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