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Morgan Hill
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May 22, 2022

Editorial: Plenty of reasons to get involved this year

If 2010 was a tumultuous year, one can only imagine what 2011
might bring.
If 2010 was a tumultuous year, one can only imagine what 2011 might bring.

Last year saw an ever-growing uprising of discontent over the high-speed rail system scheduled to begin moving passengers along an 800-mile route at speeds up to 185 mph through Morgan Hill by 2020. And, despite the measure’s passage in 2008, more and more people are growing more and more frustrated with high-speed rail officials and what they say are a lack of answers.

Three weeks ago, Roelof Van Ark, the CEO of the state authority overseeing the project, came to South County to talk to a joint task force that included Morgan Hill and Gilroy officials.

He told them the California High Speed Rail Authority will pay for the entire station along with a parking garage, most likely in Gilroy, and send a noise study associated with the bullet train to the task force. He is scheduled to return later this month. But many questions still remain. While the first leg of the project will be built in the Central Valley, the second section could connect South County. But where that section is located and whether it’s above ground, in a trench or at grade level, is not yet known, and those question will likely be answered this year.

Then, there is the matter of downtown redevelopment. Last year, the City Council selected Barry Swenson Builder to renovate the Granada Theater building and the Royal Clothiers site – both on Monterey Road.

The city’s vision for downtown is a sustainable community where people can live, work, shop and be entertained with a variety of transportation options – and that attracts visitors. The project will attempt to realize that picture with a mixed-use, multi-story complex where the Granada Theater now stands, with a grocery store and other retail shops on the ground floor, residential units of varying sizes on upper levels and a parking deck on the east side of the property.

The site where Royal Clothiers is will contain a new multi-screen cinema, with office and residential space upstairs.

Both sites are now owned by the RDA, and the developer plans to incorporate elements that will fulfill the city council’s downtown vision, with outdoor plazas and upper-level terraces, cafe seating and a variety of lighting and signage.

And that’s where this year’s work will lie. There will be plenty of meetings for residents to let the council know exactly what it wants downtown to look like.

Finally, there is he matter of the Santa Teresa and Butterfield boulevard extensions, two projects that will go a long way toward alleviating traffic.

In 2010, scores of residents in the Spring Hill Road area showed up in force at community meetings to oppose the Santa Teresa Boulevard extension, which planners and engineers say will drastically improve the flow of traffic for the city’s 40,000 residents and thousands of commuters who travel through Morgan Hill daily.

That project, which will cost about $17.6 million, is scheduled to come up for a city council vote early this year.

Residents can also expect to see West Dunne Avenue repaved in 2011 and Butterfield Boulevard extended to the south from Tennant Avenue to Watsonville Road.

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