Community action pays off in Casa de Oro

2
26
WEBGroupCleanup.jpg

Casa de Oro residents show their community is off to a running start, after a year of collaborative efforts result in crucial improvements. What began with local teens advocating against underage alcohol exposure led to the formation of a community alliance. In nearly a year since the group was created, Casa de Oro has been home to numerous developments, including the addition of several new businesses.

Casa de Oro residents show their community is off to a running start, after a year of collaborative efforts result in crucial improvements. What began with local teens advocating against underage alcohol exposure led to the formation of a community alliance. In nearly a year since the group was created, Casa de Oro has been home to numerous developments, including the addition of several new businesses.

In February 2015, members of the East County Youth Coalition found every liquor store within a mile-and-a-half of Monte Vista High School was violating the Alcoholic Beverage Control’s Retailer Operating Standards. The students visited each store in August 2015 to hand deliver letters outlining the violations and asked store owners to participate in community revitalization.  

By May 2016, all 11 of the stores inside the area surveyed have corrected at least one or more of the required standards. Better still, four stores are 100 percent in compliance with the nine operating standards, whereas none of the stores were following all the rules in 2015.  

The teenagers were not the only ones set on improving the community; adult residents formed the Casa De Oro Community Alliance in September 2015. The Alliance put the ‘action’ in the phrase ‘community action group’– as nearly 100 people participated in a cleanup event on Campo Road in June 2016. In addition, the Alliance created business development, policy and beautification action teams as key subcommittees.  

The action teams hope to advance policies that restrict the number of new high-risk adult businesses like smoke shops, liquor stores and hookah lounges; which locate in close proximity to each other. The action team also hopes to address poor business practices by existing adult businesses, which could negatively influence public safety and community culture.

The efforts are starting to pay off— in May 2016, Butler’s Coffee House officially opened for business on Campo Road. Owner Jordan Butler notes he selected his Casa de Oro location due to the area’s potential. 

“This space is very attractive in a business sense,” Butler said. “Campo Road has around 22 thousand cars that travel on it every day. Casa de Oro is definitely an emerging area as the gateway to Mt. Helix.”

Butler was not alone; other businesses, including The EDGE Mediterranean Grill and Cotijas Taco Shop opened their doors in Casa de Oro over the past 12 months while an area Chevron station completed a renovation project. Meantime, a CVS Pharmacy is currently under construction.

But it’s not just new businesses that are sprouting in Casa de Oro; existing establishments are proving to be local treasures. One of those is the Young Actors Theatre, which offers camps, classes and two different productions this summer.

After wrapping up “Beauty and the Beast,” the YAT is focusing on its production of “Spelling Bee,” which will run through August 28.

Local businesses provide valuable services and contribute to Casa de Oro’s unique character as a historically rich, culturally diverse community that is safe, pedestrian-friendly, and a popular destination for dining, entertainment and shopping.  

Boosted by the recent strides in liquor store compliance, the Alliance’s goal of advancing policies to address poor business practices insures establishments operate in a manner that is consistent with the character of Casa de Oro.

Smaller improvements from the county have also helped turn that vision into reality. This summer, select curbs in school district zones along Campo Road received a fresh coat of red paint, boosting efforts to provide safety around schools.

Bob Yarris, Casa de Oro Alliance co-chairman, commended the efforts from a wide range of participants.

“We’ve seen a commitment from clergy and business leaders, as well as the mobilization of the community,” Yarris said. “There are enough people here that want to take ownership of this undertaking and see Casa de Oro revitalized and restored to its past glory.”

With just a year’s worth of progress completed in Casa de Oro, including four liquor stores reaching 100 percent compliance with operating standards, Yarris believes the future is equally as bright. The Alliance desires to promote polices that restrict certain high-risk adult businesses, while at the same time addressing concerns tied to existing adult businesses.

“We’ve seen a nucleus of people that have come out, and the group is starting to grow,” Yarris said. “It’s a marathon, not a sprint; and actions speak louder than words. We want to continue to make progress.”

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here