About the Colony

A bright outlook for Atascadero

Several months ago, I suggested that the city of Atascadero was much like a person with braces. We don’t look that good at the moment, but once the braces are removed, we’ll look stunning.

I was referring to the chain-link fencing and/or road barricades around the Colony Square project, the remake of the intersection of Highway 101 and Morro Road, the City Administration Building and more — such as the Rite-Aid commercial building under construction and the old Golden Way Garage, which for many years served as a money-making thrift store for the local Christian high school.

And then there was the summer when we all negotiated the daily lane changes downtown as roadwork was done. It looks great now, and there is a third phase already being planned. I hope this next phase includes the area on Traffic Way from St. William’s Catholic Church to El Camino Real, one of the most unsightly portions of the entire downtown area.

Although the future of the Golden Way block remains unknown for now as plans work their way through the city’s planning process, the freeway project, the new Rite-Aid and Colony Square are expected to be completed by the end of this year. In fact, the contractor on the Rite-Aid building was on the job New Year’s Day. Those concrete block walls are going up fast.

And we might get to see a movie without leaving Atascadero come this time next year. Work could begin on restoration of the city’s Administration Building this spring, which should make the building available to us by the time the community celebrates its 100th anniversary in the fall of 2013.

Work is already under way on a new restroom at the Charles Paddock Zoo, and perhaps we’ll see construction begin on a new entrance to that facility before the year ends.

I keep thinking the city will take an interest in enforcing its sign ordinance without private citizens having to file complaints, but it is obvious that isn’t going to happen.

So my resolution is to report more violations until we’ve cleared Atascadero’s streets of those signs, banners and more that are specifically forbidden, such as the rooftop signs cropping up now.

It appears 2010 will be better for Atascadero than the year just put to rest. Actually, that’s not going to be too difficult, because 2009 was horrible for all of us.

The city appears to be doing the right thing to control its spending. It’ll help if we can keep the governor’s hand out of the local piggy bank.

I see a brighter year ahead for the Colony.

Lon Allan has lived in Atascadero for nearly four decades. His column appears on the Local page every Tuesday. He can be reached at 466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.