Take it off, take it all off

This Fourth of July might be especially significant for The Mall in downtown Redding if it gains independence from its skanky, leaky, moldy roof.  

More specifically, the demolition of The Mall’s roof could begin lift-off as early as late June or early July, said Larry Morgon, the city’s go-to guy regarding downtown-related projects.

Yanking the decayed roof from The Mall seems a slam-dunk decision, since it would cost more than $1 million to repair it.  (But with recent Redding politics, even slam dunks are up for grabs when clowns foul the ball.) 

Morgon said everything hinges on Monday night’s Redding Redevelopment Agency Board meeting. Then, he hopes board members will agree with a city staff recommendation that the board OK a $1.6 million loan from another redevelopment venture , the Canby-Hilltop-Cypress project, to fund The Mall’s roof demo.

“If they approve we’ll advertise for bids by Friday,” said Morgon, who serves as the agency’s project coordinator in charge of downtown. “We could award it by June 3, and work could start in late June or July.”

Oh happy day. Free at last, free at last. 

 Morgon, who’s beat the drum as Redding’s dedicated “downtown Redding” guy for many, many years, sounded genuinely excited when he talked about the city’s in-house design suggestions for Phase 2 of The Mall.

He talked about a roofless old mall with a new infusion of light, and how much more open the area might look minus some concrete columns and all the current raised planters.

He talked about dozens of trees that would bring shade and color inside The Mall. (No street through The Mall yet; not in this  phase, at least. That would require another boatload of money.)

He talked about how much less expensive Phase 2 should be than Phase 1. For example, the raised planters will be completely removed this time, instead of keeping them, trying to work around them and creating parallel French drains. In Phase 2, one French drain will run right down the center of The Mall.

He talked about how the organization Renaissance Redding will take the lead to solicit an artist who’ll create something wonderful and practical from the remaining columns.

But most of all, Morgan said that finally, nearly everyone’s of one mind regarding the fate of The Mall’s roof.  

“There’s nothing out there on the horizon now that’s more important than taking the roof off The Mall,” he said. 

Amen to that.

Take the roof off. Finally, take it all off.

Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
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