Riverside’s downtown Greyhound bus station will have to wait longer to move to a planned transit center. The end of redevelopment has made the transit project’s future uncertain.(/FILE PHOTO/2008)

BY ALICIA ROBINSON
STAFF WRITER
arobinson@pe.com

Published: 07 January 2012 06:52 PM

Riverside may have to scrap plans for a downtown bus and train transit hub, a new shopping plaza in the Five Points area of La Sierra, relocation of two historic Victorian homes and a variety of other projects, now that state legislation and a court ruling have dismantled redevelopment.

Worse yet, say city officials, they may be forced to sell many of the properties owned by the city’s now-defunct redevelopment agency, including some on the Main Street mall, University Avenue, at Five Points, and in several areas downtown where new and better housing was planned.

City leaders are still trying to sort out exactly what they can and can’t do with former agency projects. Debts for projects that are done, such as a new playground and ball fields at Hunter Hobby Park, will be paid. Any projects that are already under binding agreements, such as development or construction contracts that were signed before June 28, likely will proceed.

But for all other redevelopment agency assets, “If it’s not already committed, we’re required to dispose of it,” Riverside Development Director Emilio Ramirez said.

A few things are for certain, Ramirez and City Manager Scott Barber agreed. The Five Points shopping center project, where the city already has done about $2.7million in road improvements, probably won’t happen because the city only had an agreement to negotiate with a developer, but not an actual contract or plan.

“We’ve already sunk a bunch of cash into making that happen,” Ramirez said. “If we lose that project, it’s going to hurt.”

Bill Oaks, manager of Sierra Memorial Chapel Mortuary in the Five Points area, is just as disappointed. He has suffered through seeing the older, run-down buildings cleared out and demolished and the annoyance of road work.

“What really concerns me is not getting the new businesses back in,” Oaks said. “Everybody was looking forward to what’s going on.”

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