On Oct. 16, 2007, Noozhawk was launched with a mission to fill a void of professional, mainstream, everyday local news in Santa Barbara and Goleta.
We’ve come a long way in our pioneering 10 years. In fact, we now cover all of Santa Barbara County and, according to both Google Analytics and Quantcast, Noozhawk is the No. 1 source for online local news in this region.
But we like to think big, and on this milestone anniversary, we’re announcing our most ambitious project to date, Reimagine: Santa Barbara.
As you know, downtown Santa Barbara is not having the best of years, and we believe we have an obligation to do something about it. We’ve been reporting on a lot of the challenges, but there are so many more opportunities there as well, especially if we turn our attention away from the short-term focus and really think about the future.
| Reimagine: Santa Barbara | Complete Series Index |
No one wants the status quo to continue, but it’s going to take a community-wide discussion to develop a community-wide vision and then a community-wide action plan.
We’ve partnered with KEYT News, along with Michael Smith and his Shared Mission Santa Barbara, for an extensive, multipart series examining the history and evolution of downtown Santa Barbara and explaining many of the contemporary issues, both good and bad.
We’ll be confronting hot-button topics like homelessness and vagrancy, tourism, street use and parking, planning and development policies, zoning, housing, infrastructure and law enforcement. We’ll also be tackling commercial vacancies, retail trends, building ownership and investment, leasing data and sales tax revenue.
By comparison, we’ll be reporting on other “downtowns” in Santa Barbara County, as well as San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Old Town Pasadena and Boulder, Colo. We want to know if there are lessons to be learned, and programs and policies that might provide inspiration here.
We’ll also be incorporating our Community West Bank-sponsored Noozhawk Asks reader-engagement platform to have you help us identify priorities for a higher-level community debate, research and expert review.
We want to hear your ideas about possible directions and concepts, then we’ll explore them together. Our hope is that this platform will enable us to craft thorough suggestions that can be presented — on your behalf — to elected officials, policy makers, civic leaders and stakeholders.
This project would not be possible without the support of our sponsors, and I’m particularly proud of the broad cross-section of the community represented by this roster:
KEYT News, Shared Mission Santa Barbara, Montecito Bank & Trust, SIMA, Community West Bank, Hutton Parker Foundation, Investec, Southern California Edison and Downtown Santa Barbara.
American Riviera Bank, Buynak Fauver Archbald Spray, Hayes Commercial Group, Richard Berti, Pacific Premier Bank, Santa Barbara Foundation, Seymour Duncan, Westmont College, Arlington Financial Advisors, The Cearnal Collective, Community Environmental Council, Cox and Metropolitan Theatres.
AIA Santa Barbara, The Chamber of Commerce of the Santa Barbara Region, Coastal Housing Coalition, Frank McGinity, Hop Studios, Howell, Moore & Gough LLP, Lee & Associates, Opal Restaurant & Bar, Pacifica Commercial Realty, Pacific Western Bank, Peter Hartmann D.D.S. and Stacey Wright, Reason in Government, Santa Barbara Community Housing Corporation and Visit Santa Barbara.
If your name is not on this list of project sponsors, but should be, click here to contact me for details on how to make that happen.
With so many of you already laser-focused on this issue, we believe we have a unique opportunity to harness that energy and turn it into something tangible and enduring. On behalf of our partners, KEYT News and Shared Mission Santa Barbara, we’re excited to get started.
Part I — The Past Is Prologue
» Day One: The State of Downtown Santa Barbara Marked by Distinctive Eras, But Remains True to Roots
» Day Two: 1925 Earthquake Shakes Up the Future
» Reader memories and photographs
Part II — It’s All About Today
» Overview of State Street issues
» AIA Santa Barbara design charrette, Make State Street Work
» Individual topics include homelessness and vagrancy, retail environment, public safety, parking and transportation, loss of Redevelopment Agency funds, sales tax initiative, zoning, regulations, government, tourism and visitor services, Funk Zone and Lower State Street, housing and special events
Part III — Getting Around with Downtowns
» The rest of Santa Barbara, along with Goleta, Carpinteria, the Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria and the North County
» San Luis Obispo, Ventura, Old Town Pasadena and Boulder, Colo.
Part IV — Noozhawk Asks
» What are your ideas to help make downtown dynamic, authentic, sustainable and fun? How would you reimagine Santa Barbara?
— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.