BAXTER MILLER’S NEW DESIGN FOR CORONA
Amid the nation’s economic crises, the city has to plot a sustainable course through good and bad. That plan should be as nimble as possible to adjust for both prosperity and slow downs, booms and busts. The Expenditure Control Budget should be fully implemented, thus motivating the management team to make changes from the ground up, not from the top down.
CITY-WIDE VISION FOR THE FUTURE
Growth has impacted Corona almost as a burden at times and we are reaching the city’s sustainable limits. We will revitalize the downtown in time, and our urban renewal will have been completed. But what will it be? Better yet, who will we be? Will we have a cultural soul? Will we have a vibrant economic engine? Will we have an identity beyond a circle of what…condominiums, retail stores, entertainment venues? We should take stock of our assets, identify our potential, and inscribe in stone what we are and what we hope to be. This can’t be just for tomorrow. It has to be for the next 50 years. The synergy of two great freeways, the 15 and 91, presents us with a wonderful opportunity, but any revitalization has to connect the city from end to end, north to south, east to west. And that revitalization, along with the last of the sustainable development, should include centers for higher education, medical science and cultural activities – cornerstones of all great cities. We should stand strong to the winds of change and become an icon of planned and managed growth.
CONSERVATION BEGINS WITH LEADERSHIP
The conservation of resources should be a top priority for all American cities and citizens, especially those built in a desert environment. Most of the water and fuel that sustains Corona is imported at an ever-increasing cost, both economically and environmentally. The city government has an obligation to lead in all areas, reducing the impact and cost of this process. The reduction in the use of fossil fuels would save money and reduce pollution. Water has to be preserved wherever possible, with public facilities being a model of conservation and reuse. Every public building should have a plan to go solar as soon as possible, reducing the impact on the electrical grid and saving significant tax dollars. Green technology should be implemented throughout the government operation, becoming a model for the public sector.
NEW FORM OF GOVERNANCE
The city, at 140,000, is large enough to support a more responsive form of government. The current form was suitable for a community that was centralized with a population under 50,000. Now that Corona is the second largest city in Riverside County, topped only by Riverside, the roles and responsibilities for the elected officials have out-grown a system that features a rotating honorary mayor and an at large city council. We now need an elected mayor and a council of representatives elected from each area of the city. An elected mayor, through a term of four years or possible eight if reelected, can chart a long-term vision that embraces each area of the city. It has worked in Riverside and other fast growing communities. As a city grows and neighborhoods change, the elected representatives will be more responsive to constituents and more representative of those changing neighborhoods.
As cultural pursuits such as education and the arts are the soul of a community, recreation is the spirit. It is through active and passive recreation that communities are brought together—young and old, able and physically challenged. The city should increase its investment in all forms of recreation and encourage private investment in recreation opportunities through partnerships. It should develop trailheads to the Cleveland National Forest and Santa Ana River, creating a larger nature component to our recreational program. The opportunity to build a city with vibrant recreational outlets is there. We need to act on the opportunity.