Quick heads up for those who don’t get the paper — here’s today’s story from a meeting I had with new Superintendent Donald Evans. He’s still settling in, but what would you have asked him? What are your gravest concerns? He says he wants to hear from everyone, so send him an email but also post it here for the sake of discussion.
The public’s input is being sought at a meeting tomorrow as the city aims to update its plan for downtown Hayward. Here’s today’s story, here’s the flier for the event and here’s the staff report from the Oct. 25 meeting when the idea was brought up to council.
One point that was omitted from the story because of space constraints is the downtown’s absentee landlords. Both the mayor and Councilman Marvin Peixoto said the city needs to do something to address the owners of buildings who seem to be uninterested in finding tenants.
“The worst gateway is the west side of Foothill, from Hazel on up,” Peixoto said. “Those people need to be contacted. They live outside the city and are not looking to put capital improvements into their projects.”
Mayor Mike Sweeney said some property owners “seem clueless about their business.”
“I don’t understand the strategy of why keeping buildings vacant for years on end, asking unreasonable rates from tenants, how that’s good for business,” he said. “Maybe we need to do mental health clinics for the owners there to bring them into the real financial world.”
Sweeney also cautioned that the loop of one way streets currently under construction in the area could prove to be a pitfall for some downtown ideas.
“If part of the vision for downtown is to make it walkable, I don’t see how it will help,” he said. “Especially Mission Boulevard, how is having five lanes of traffic going to help make downtown more walkable?”
Sweeney, Olden Henson and then-councilwoman Anna May opposed the loop the last time it came up, in early 2009, when they wanted to revisit the idea. They were outvoted by the rest of the council.
Final note: While lauding Buffalo Bill’s, Peixoto talked about how such family-friendly venues make great tenants and pointed at the late great Ye Olde Pizza Joynt (which technically sat on county property) as another example of such a venue. Brought back fond memories — I loved that place when I was a kid, especially when organist Don Thompson would bring the house down with the theme from Star Wars. Good pizza, too. Place closed years ago after a fire, but there appears to be something in the works there these days and a source who inquired a crew there told me they’re putting in some kind of chicken restaurant.
Anyway, if you have some thoughts on downtown, would love to read them in the comments.
Here’s our story on Hayward’s own Muffler Man disappearing from the Mission Boulevard spot where he’s stood for decades. I was first alerted to his absence by a keen-eyed reader last Thursday, and after talking with nearby merchants it sounds like that’s the same day he was chopped up and trucked off. They say it took about four hours to do the deed. For more on Mike and his brethren, this site is always worth revisiting for fascinating lore on Muffler Men and photos of all the variants.
So I’m hoping now that the story is out, someone will contact me and let me know what’s going on with Mike. Will let you all know if they do.
And yes, I am still here.