Sunday, December 26, 2010
I see that today (December 26), the Press-Enterprise has run yet another piece on the impending doom of the San Gorgonion Inn. That is truly a shame that didn't have to happen. The San Gorgonio Pass Historical Society and the Old Riverside Foundation both appealed to City Council to help them find a suitable use for the building. That failed - it seemed as though the City was bound and determined to tear it down no matter what. Then, those groups told them that it was a structure of merit under CEQA, and that an EIR would have to be done. The City hired a firm to do it, and the resulting EIR was laughable. It was probably the most biased one I'd ever seen, and since I worked in the Planning Department during the 80s and early 90s, when the building boom was on, that's saying a lot. During all this time, the City has made no effort to shore up the building's upper floor, so that vandals and other bums can get inside of it and destroy it. People in the preservation circles call this "Demolition through Neglect." Now, of course, they say it's in bad shape and an eyesore - of course it is! You've made it that way! The City is fully responsible for making it such and eyesore! If they had any creativity whatsoever, they'd be finding a reuse for the building instead of going about, starry-eyed, beholden to some other out-of-town developer who's going to promise them the moon and deliver something far less. Yes, the City of Banning has really screwed up this one - thank goodness they didn't get ahold of the Hotel Banning a couple of blocks to the west. That would be destined for the wrecking ball too, undoubtedly!!