Prospect Street Fate Is Cause For De­bate

Escalon Times - - FRONT PAGE - By MARG JACKSON mjack­son@escalon­

A lit­tle known and rarely used process for va­cat­ing a street in Escalon has come un­der scru­tiny … and is likely to be a topic of dis­cus­sion at the Mon­day night Escalon City Coun­cil meet­ing on April 3.

Prospect Street lies be­tween Escalon Lum­ber and the Escalon Trans­mis­sion Shop, off First Street, and though tech­ni­cally still a street, it is more of­ten used as over­flow park­ing for events at the neigh­bor­ing Azores Band Hall and when there are major events down­town such as Park Fete or pa­rades.

Mem­bers of the Escalon City Coun­cil took for­mal ac­tion at their Feb. 21 meet­ing to va­cate the street, said City Man­ager Tammy Ala­can­tor.

“It means that it’s not des­ig­nated to be a street at this point,” she said.

Some business own­ers in the shops sur­round­ing the newly va­cated street are now con­cerned what will hap­pen to the prop­erty.

Among them is Jim Mangnu­son of Mangnu­son Air Con­di­tion­ing, who is hop­ing to get peo­ple out to the Mon­day night meet­ing to ask the coun­cil to re­con­sider the ac­tion.

A full page ad re­gard­ing some of his con­cerns, and those of other business own­ers in the im­me­di­ate area, can be found on Page

A6 of this week’s is­sue.

“I am cer­tainly hop­ing we’ve got sup­port,” Mangnu­son said. “The lum­ber com­pany (Escalon Lum­ber and Hard­ware) has a pe­ti­tion go­ing, get­ting some sig­na­tures, I know we have sup­port from the Por­tuguese (Azores) Hall, they are get­ting sig­na­tures.”

At is­sue is the fu­ture of the ‘street’ – which can be used as a pass through from First Street to Roo­sevelt Av­enue – and what might be done with it. Sev­eral busi­nesses uti­lize the space for park­ing.

“Even at that, I am not say­ing I want it to be turned into a park­ing lot,” Mangnu­son said of seek­ing the coun­cil to take back the street for the city.

One of his major con­cerns is how the ini­tial ac­tion was taken. He feels it was sparked by fel­low business owner Randy Sch­midt’s re­quest that the city put some gravel down on the street it­self.

“They don’t have the money to re­pair it,” Mangnu­son said. “They haven’t had the money to do it for 45 years.”

It was never an is­sue be­fore, he pointed out, but the de­ci­sion was made to “just get rid of the road” when the city was ap­proached for some as­sis­tance in main­tain­ing it.

Al­can­tor said though va­cated as a street, the area in ques­tion is now just clas­si­fied as city owned prop­erty.

And while the coun­cil isn’t nec­es­sar­ily look­ing to sell the prop­erty, Al­can­tor said at this point, there has been no de­ci­sion made on what will be done with it in the fu­ture.

“It’s tech­ni­cally two lots,” she noted, adding that, for the time be­ing, the use of the prop­erty will con­tinue on with the sta­tus quo, of­fer­ing a park­ing area and the pass through be­tween streets.

Mangnu­son said he plans to at­tend the coun­cil meet­ing and will ad­dress the is­sue dur­ing the Public Com­ments por­tion of the agenda.

He is con­cerned that the coun­cil did not fol­low the let­ter of the law in aban­don­ing the street and wants to make sure proper pro­ce­dures were in place.

“I think they take the law and re-work it un­til it meets their needs,” he said. “The best way to stop it is to ask for a re­con­sid­er­a­tion, then they (coun­cil) need to get with peo­ple and look for ideas, meet ev­ery­body’s needs. If they do that, I don’t think there is go­ing to be a prob­lem.”

It may turn out a for­mal park­ing lot could be the per­fect use, Mangnu­son said, but he wants to have an open dis­cus­sion with the coun­cil and feels other peo­ple want the same.

Nev­er­the­less, he isn’t sure how many peo­ple will show up for the 7 p.m. coun­cil ses­sion on Mon­day.

“There’s no way of telling, you put things out there and hope­fully that will drive peo­ple down there,” he said.

The coun­cil meets in cham­bers at City Hall, 2060 McHenry Ave.

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