Feb 26, 2010 1:22 AM by Ariel Wesler
City leaders in Guadalupe are building a safer community from the ground up.
The city is going through an intense retrofitting process to bring its buildings up to code.
Many of the structures were built in the early 1900s and are not earthquake safe. In a down economy, city officials say they are actively looking for more ways to attract businesses and tourists.
Guadalupe is getting a makeover.
"By 2014, if these buildings aren't retrofitted they have to be torn down or vacated," said Guadalupe City Councilor Ariston Julian.
The city gave $3 million to 21 business owners in the downtown area to make their structures stronger and safer. Most were built in the early 1900s.
"It's a high concentration for earthquake and it's sandy lome, so buildings will go down," Julian said.
"In 1925, they didn't bolt or plate anything down to the foundation, so we've bolted everything down," Steven Stillman, the project's contractor.
But the owner of the Flamingo and Sonora, two bars in town, decided to put some of his own money into the project and completely remodel.
"When we're done, we'll have a new Sonora's and a new Flamingo's and then three other retails," Stillman said.
Anita Navarro owns the Curves fitness center in town. She says without the added safety measures, she wouldn't have moved in.
"Having the building retrofitted and new was very important and safe that the building won't crash down on us," Navarro said.
Something city leaders hope will help the community thrive.
"We need business. The economy in terms of our sales tax dollar is down, so we want to return that to this community," Julian said.
All while preseving its unique flavor and style.
Residents say talk of retrofitting downtown has been going on for years. The city says it was finally able to secure enough funding to get the project started.
The two bars construction crews were working on today should be completed in the next couple months.
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