Exciting things are taking place all along Lancaster Boulevard, so for this month’s column I decided to ask Lancaster’s City Manager Mark Bozigian: “Why the focus on Downtown?”
Mark said every City should have a “Cultural Center” similar to what State Street represents to Santa Barbara. State Street in Santa Barbara is where the City meets and greets, where activities take place night and day. It’s a place to show the identity of the City and a place to showcase accomplishments of area residents.
According to the Downtown Lancaster Specific Plan, City goals are to “revitalize and improve the Downtown as a place of historic, cultural, social, economic and civic vitality” and to “Create a destination place with a mix of commercial, retail, dining, entertainment, residential, and transit uses.”
Who can argue with that?
In looking over the plan - available on Lancaster’s website - I found it very exciting. When one sees the artist drawings of the Boulevard and the pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined walkways, the design makes sense. An upgrade to building facades have also been incorporated as part of the project and at each end of Lancaster Boulevard traffic roundabouts are to be installed.
No more stop lights!
I take guitar lessons at a music store located on the Boulevard at Downtown where across the street construction is ongoing to build a night club-style restaurant that will also offer entertainment. Mark Bozigian has promised me a tour and I can hardly wait.
From the sidewalk, the structural steel, fashioned as canopies, looks pleasing even though the project is not yet complete.
Carved out of the old Bank of America building, we now have a new delicatessen on the Boulevard. This deli’s New York motif is unlike anything our City has offered before.
When my daughter and I had lunch there recently we sat along the counter looking out the window and people-watched.
We had a great time and the food wasn’t bad either!
The experience reminded me of my time in the big city down-below when we would sit at the sidewalk restaurant and watch the world go by. There are many other storefront cafes that have propped-up along the Boulevard, all well-suited to satisfy any appetite.
To get people to focus on Downtown Lancaster, Mark Bozigian told me the focus is on “activities that happen all day and into the night.”
The recent “Streets of Lancaster Grand Prix” rally for high speed go-carts is but one example of a City-sponsored event that generated all day excitement and activities.
In the future, the city manager promises us more such activities.
But don’t wait until Boulevard upgrades are complete to make Lancaster’s Downtown a regular destination to visit and enjoy. Take a leisurely stroll sometime soon and watch progress unfold before your very eyes.
This way, you’ll appreciate the improvements more-so when they are completed.
In just a few short months construction will proceed full steam ahead and things will be happening very quickly. Development of American Hero’s park has commenced and people are currently moving into the Artist Loft, and Transit Village.
Lancaster’s City Manager Mark Bozigian has told me he is proud of the accomplishments that are taking place, and he should be. Lancaster is looking more and more like the place you will want to visit to spend some quality time.
And with successful implementation of crime reduction programs, Downtown has become transformed into a safe place for the entire family.
Keep your eye on Downtown Lancaster! Exciting things will be happening soon and you will want to be a part of them!
The opinions expressed in this article are those of Randy Hall and should not be misconstrued by the reader to necessarily be those of The AV Political Observer.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Randy Hall is a Vice-Chair of the City of Lancaster’s Architectual and Design Commission.
The Downtown Lancaster Specific Plan is available at: