A vote of confidence in downtown Pomona as business district is renewed

 Larry Egan, executive director of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association, helped win its renewal for another decade. (Photo by David Allen)

Larry Egan, executive director of the Downtown Pomona Owners Association, helped win its renewal for another decade. (Photo by David Allen)

 David Allen July 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

Downtown Pomona’s business improvement district will stick around through 2028 after property owners voted overwhelmingly to keep paying for extra security, cleanup, marketing and events like the Christmas Parade and Second Saturday Art Walk.

Nearly 100 property owners agreed to continue assessing themselves a collective $1 million per year. The vote was 78 percent in favor, up from 74 percent when the Downtown Pomona Owners Association last came up for certification in 2009.

While City Hall is the largest property owner in the district, the affirmative vote of private property owners — including Western University of Health Sciences, the Tessier family and the Tower office building — added up to 67 percent, according to DPOA executive director Larry Egan.

The new boundaries are Garey and Monterey avenues and Main and First streets, a modest expansion, plus the old YMCA at its new owner’s request over to Gibbs Street.

There were dissenters, including a glass shop owner near Gibbs who’ll have to pay $5,000 a year for what she considers scant benefit. One attorney who owns multiple properties on Mission Boulevard got two ballots and split his vote, telling Egan he saw the district’s benefit for one but not the other.

Overall, though, there was little overt opposition compared to 2009, the first renewal after the district’s 2004 formation. The City Council accepted the results Monday.

What’s ahead in the next 10 years? “We want to stay on the same path we’re on now — safe and clean, and make downtown conducive to development,” Egan, executive director since 2007, told me Wednesday. “The goal is to be out of business, ‘We don’t need you anymore.’ Then we’ll have done our job.”

Egan, by the way, had planned to retire June 30, but while recuperating from a health scare earlier this year, he got restless. “I don’t want to resign. I need a purpose,” Egan, 75, recalled thinking. “What am I going to do, clip coupons?”

The board of directors hired him back. Apparently, they still need him. The coupons can wait.