(Power of Unity)
Growing up in the San Jacinto Valley, I remember the street of banks that had a claim to fame. The 74 and 79 brought visitors and economy through and into our restaurants, stores and to buy homes. Our business community was unified in promoting the Ramona Pageant and Hot Springs to make the draw for tourists more attractive with the end result of those outsiders leaving more of their money here. Sierra Dawn was built by the McIntyre’s, the first mobile home retirement community in the nation. Times were good, and our community was tight and focused.
Change happens, and boy did it ever in the Valley. All around the Valley new highways were built. The 10, 215, and 15 were constructed routing traffic around our Valley. Think of Route 66 and how well those towns were until new freeways were built that routed the economy of traffic elsewhere. Maybe this is overdramatized or exaggerated, but it’s not hard to see the timeline parallels of our communities’ decline and change of economics.
This Valley is remarkably beautiful and rich with agriculture, motorsports, future artists and on most issues a unified one. Over the decades two new highways have been designed and approved for our Valley to allow once more outsiders to skirt through our Valley on modern freeways once built. One project goes east-to-west, called the Mid-County Parkway and the other runs north-to-south and is an actual realignment of the old 79. They interconnect in San Jacinto.
Bad news is that these projects are literally decades old. For over 30 years the 79 had been worked on. Both of these are approved to build now, but there is no money in the coffers. Currently, both of these projects have been listed over and over again on the County’s special half-cent transportation tax. You will hear several reasons on why they were delayed and not built. You will also see that every other pocket in the County has some new parkway, highway, expansion to three (3) lanes, overpasses, HOV or toll lanes. If you ask the Commission on when our highways will be built, don’t be surprised to hear 2040 or beyond.
New highways in many areas have driven some of the fastest growth in creating new cities. Right now, we need to come together once more as a Valley and demand the 79 and mid-County Parkway be built with the proposed transportation measure. Listing words on a sheet isn’t enough. Why not construct where every fifth of a cent goes to our projects. This measure most likely is the only one we will see for a very long time. Our economy will blossom with a new retail and economy.
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Andrew F. Kotyuk, CIMA* is CEO and Principal of Alpha Wealth Management LLC
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