The Santa Barbara City Council pushed through some two-dozen interviews to select members for the State Street Advisory Committee who will be tasked with reshaping downtown’s iconic center by overseeing a master plan.
City Hall received roughly 95 applications, and the council had already interviewed 19 people last week before Tuesday’s meeting.
State Street has been in need of revitalization for years. The area is marked by high business vacancies, a mall that’s growing empty, and an increasing homeless population, to name a few issues. The street saw a total transformation last year when the council voted to shut it down to cars, opening it to pedestrians and allowing restaurant parklets in the street.
Now the council is looking to create a plan that will shape State Street’s future. The councilmembers asked the applicants about the possibility of housing downtown, what to do with the Paseo Nuevo mall, how to bring businesses back, and more.
Councilmember Kristen Sneddon focused on looking for candidates who have a broad experience with downtown and State Street, and not just a candidate fulfilling one niche. Councilmember Alejandra Gutierrez focused some of her questioning on how the candidates would respond to children’s needs downtown.
The committee will be made up of 15 people: three councilmembers, one planning commissioner, and one member of the Historic Landmarks Commission. The interviews were for the other 10 spots that will go to community stakeholders.
The council will make the appointments on July 20.
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