About the Colony

Good news for Atascadero

Special to The TribuneJune 24, 2013 

Lon Allan

THE TRIBUNE

It was wonderful news for Atascadero this week as we learned that construction on the new library will begin next month.

Friends of the Atascadero Library and others have already scheduled a sort of groundbreaking on July 19. Because the building shell is already finished, there isn’t any “ground” to break. Building the interior of the two-story building will result in putting the library back downtown where it began.

Now, if only we could move the post office back downtown. Moving the post office out of the downtown was the first dagger into the heart of the community. Many people, especially the business folks, loved their daily trips to the post office where they encountered friends, where they caught up on each others’ lives — births, deaths, divorces, illnesses and successes.

I notice with delight that new way-finding signage has been plugged into the downtown. It is attractive to say the least, although it seems a bit silly to need signs to point out shops down the block to passersby. But at least the new signage will provide an additional place for merchants to chain those sandwich board signs to. There was talk that when the new signage was put in the city would clamp down on those ugly, non-conforming sandwich board signs.

I’ll be watching to see if that happens.

There was also good news that a development is planned for a portion of the Golden Way Block, which stretched from what is the Main Street office north to the abandoned Jack In The Box restaurant. Many residents only know the site as the former location of a secondhand shop that helped support the North County Christian School.

I’ve always thought if anybody was going to save the downtown, it would be Larry Wysong. So here he is with a project that would clean up the vacant lot where the old auto garage, gas station and miniature golf course once stood along El Camino Real.

I applaud Wysong’s efforts and hope that this can all come to fruition for property owner Ben Hoff and family.

I can’t help note that, like so many other commercial projects approved for Atascadero, this one comes with the commission (and council) lifting some restrictions. In the case of the new La Plaza Center, the city is going to allow the buildings to exceed the height limitations and a free-standing freeway pole sign.

Maybe that’s progress.

Think how much money we could save by not adopting building standards we aren’t going to adhere to anyway.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly five decades and his column is published weekly. Reach him at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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