EDITORIA: Property holdings must be scrutinized

On the surface, $1.1 million for a prime piece of downtown land appears to be a wise move by the City of Vernon.

On the surface, $1.1 million for a prime piece of downtown land appears to be a wise move by the City of Vernon.

After all, officials have long argued that  25th Avenue must be ultimately extended to 30th Avenue and 27th Street as a way of handling critical east/west traffic flows. And as the community grows over the long-term, the pressure on the road network will continue to increase.

The land is available now, and had acquisition been delayed to the future, the price would have likely been higher.

But while buying the New Delhi Restaurant makes sense, the city needs to reflect on its propensity to snap up land.

The Coldstream Hotel site was added to city assets years ago for a cultural complex, but absolutely nothing has occurred there except the parking of vehicles.

Just a few blocks over is the former Vernon Medical Clinic site. It’s evolved into a link between the civic complex and Cenotaph Park but how many people will use it now that a key anchor in the area, the library, has moved elsewhere?

City officials also bought the Vernon Flower Shop and while a new public art gallery is proposed, the property isn’t large enough to meet all of the community’s outstanding cultural needs, specifically a new museum.

On top of these lands is the Bennett parking lot, which has been sitting larger under-utilized on 29th Avenue for years.

Obviously the city needs to look at the long-term and if the New Delhi Restaurant lot is required for traffic upgrades, then move ahead.

But the city needs to rationalize the resources it already has. That may mean reconsidering plans, like moving the art gallery to the Coldstream Hotel site, or putting some of the lands up for sale.

Vernon taxpayers deserve more from their investments.

—The Morning Star