Not a headline you’d expect to see on one of my columns, although the “1950s diner” part may make it clearer why I handled this one. Mission Family Restaurant, built in 1958 and closed in 2013, was a total loss after a pre-dawn blaze Sunday. I tell the story and recount the glory days and sad recent past in my Wednesday column.
Two years ago I wrote about the grand church in downtown Pomona from 1888 that was occupied after a few years of vacancy and was under restoration. The exterior has been completed for a while except for the bell tower and steeple, which still have peeling paint. That work is now underway. I provide an update, which included riding in a construction boom for closer photos (yikes!), in Wednesday’s column.
Did you know the couple behind Knott’s Berry Farm met in high school in Pomona? Well, you may have if you’ve read my column for a long time. Regardless, I go into all that again for Knott’s centennial, as well as telling you more about handwashing (and lack of same), about a couple who tried to recreate their first date at the long-gone Lord Charley’s restaurant and about Dave Stevens, an Upland civic leader who died a week ago, all in Sunday’s column.
In which I get a coffee in downtown Pomona, sit on a bench in the sun and get a column out of it.
Since Fuller Seminary isn’t moving to Pomona after all, what happens to the properties it bought downtown? They’ve been listed for sale as “a compelling multifamily mixed-use redevelopment opportunity in the urban core of Pomona, the seventh largest city in Los Angeles County.” That’s the topic of my Wednesday column.
A little background on how this column came to be. I’d been wanting to follow up on Fuller’s late-October announcement that it had scrapped its plans to move here, especially since I’d written in mid-2018 about the properties it had bought. I wondered what would happen to that land and if Pomona was thinking bigger about the possibilities after Fuller fell through.
With some sheepishness, a couple of weeks ago I rang up the deputy city manager to go over what seemed like old news to see if there was a way to “spin it forward,” as we say in the biz, by looking to the future. Midway through our chat, he said the properties were about to be listed for sale as a package and had strong possibilities for residential development. Suddenly my stale news had become fresh!
Even at that, it took me another couple of weeks to find a slot for the column, as among other things a new city manager was hired in Fontana and a column subject in Claremont was killed in an accident. Finally, though, here it is, and only because I skipped Monday night’s Pomona council meeting. Even though my topics are my own choice, accomplishing them can be either routine or like running an obstacle course.
I went to the Pomona council meeting Monday night for an item on an old chicken coop — which was, naturally, postponed. But there was a heartening turnout for an unusual Black History Month presentation. And then there was the byplay about cat-swinging. I write about the meeting in Wednesday’s column.
A building in downtown Pomona may be a poster child for a certain problem: It’s been vacant for nearly 25 years, with no end in sight. Downtown has at least a half-dozen other buildings that have sat empty at least five years and sometimes far longer. I write about the 1908 building at 261 S. Thomas St. in Sunday’s column.
I’ve been trying to write a Pomona column per week, albeit not entirely successfully (lots of other cities need attention, and then I missed a week from the flu). But here’s news from last week’s City Council meeting, in which council members approved an affordable apartment complex downtown, but only after raising a bunch of last-minute concerns. It all comes out in the wash, or at least in Sunday’s column.
You may recall the movie theater that wanted to build in downtown Pomona, announced in 2016, followed by a contract with the city in 2018. Nothing’s happened in the 17 months since, leading many to assume the proposal is dead. But it’s not. I provide an update and explain the delays in Sunday’s column. By the way, “popping” in the headline was meant as a subtle pun involving popcorn and theaters, but it’s probably so subtle as to be more puzzling than anything. Ehh, I tried.
Two Pomona columns in a row? Yes, as I write about the reality series “Live PD” filming weekly in Pomona, the police chief’s impending retirement and this week’s council meeting in Friday’s column. But I toss in a Rancho Cucamonga vignette at the end.