We’re delighted to see the city of Yuma is taking action on a blighted area of downtown Yuma.
The city has been awarded a $400,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency, which will be used to identify and assess areas of land for potential opportunities and planning. Once that step is completed, the city can then apply for more grants to fund cleanup projects, which hopefully will then lead to development, according to a recent Yuma Sun story.
The area in question is a five-by-six block stretch located south of Giss Parkway. Once home to heavy industry and railroad activity, the area is now filled with overgrown brush, vacant lots, boarded buildings and dead ends. There’s also a chance of contamination, stemming from the region’s past use.
The revitalization process is underway in downtown Yuma already. The work really got started with the riverfront redevelopment work by the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area, which has turned the banks of the Colorado into one of Yuma’s crown jewels.
The organization has also breathed new life into the Yuma Crossing Quartermaster Depot and the Yuma Territorial Prison, taking them over when the two parks were slated for closure after the Arizona State Parks ran out of money. The Quartermaster Depot is now home to the Yuma Visitors Center, and the facility has hosted a variety of successful events, from the Lettuce Days festival to a weekly farmer’s market. Meanwhile, there have been a variety of improvements to the prison, such as a restoration of the adobe sally port.
Main Street and the surrounding area have seen resurgence in activity as well, thanks to the addition of the Hilton Garden Inn, the Pivot Point Conference Center, and businesses such as the Pint House and Da Boyz. There’s also more to come, with renovations wrapping up at soon-to-be-reopened Kress, and the expected opening of the new federal courthouse, the John M. Roll U.S. Courthouse, later this year.
The Yuma Art Center has also been a pivotal player, bringing in a variety of new shows and attractions downtown, and sponsoring events such as ArtWalk, which partners downtown businesses with artists, who then open their doors for an evening in a celebration of art.
Work in the new area would continue that resurgence downtown, establishing an area that residents can enjoy and love, which in turn would benefit Yuma as a whole, with new businesses and improved property values for existing businesses.
At the same time, if there are in fact contaminated areas, this work will resolve that as well, ridding the area of potentially harmful pollutants.
Residents who attended a meeting this week on the possibilities for the area said they would like see new, quality housing in the area, as well as new entertainment venues and restaurants.
In addition, we would also like to see opportunities for small businesses to grow and thrive. And, we would like to see Yuma residents supporting those businesses and restaurants downtown. Because without that support, any downtown revitalization effort will be doomed.
The rebirth of downtown Yuma is vital to our city’s economic health. We’re glad to see the city taking the next step in the process.