I was not able to attend the Jan. 30 Town Center meeting with Safeway because of travel commitments, but I hope the debate included the issue of how Scotts Valley is going to add 150,000 square feet of new retail space without having a negative impact on our existing local merchants.
I believe that we must increase Scotts Valley's share of the Monterey Bay tourist business to bring money from out of town to our town so all merchants can benefit from the expansion of our retail base. A new Safeway is unlikely to generate much tourist revenue, but if the city were to invest the money from the sale of the land to build a tourist attraction and a real center for our community at the Town Center, then our merchants would benefit from the increased number of visitors and home values would appreciate from the improved quality of life in Scotts Valley.
One idea would be to invest the money in an Alfred Hitchcock Center at Town Center. Hitchcock had a ranch in Scotts Valley, entertained movie stars here and filmed many movies within 100 miles of Scotts Valley. Here are some ideas to promote a Hitchcock Center and Scotts Valley:
1. Have a Hitchcock film festival with free outdoor showings of his films on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The films could be projected against the Hitchcock Center building (and other video projected the rest of the weeknights to give visual appeal). Sunburned tourists might flock to this family event, especially if it is free. If they like Town Center movies, they will come back for more.
2. Build an indoor theater at the Hitchcock Center with weekly Hitchcock film screenings year-round. The theater could have a stage for school performances, concerts, theater, improv or art/foreign films in the Hitchcock genre.
3. Build a Hitchcock Museum. Universal Studios has one in SoCal. Maybe they would join in?
4. Build a Hitchcock Library or archive. Maybe an archive could be a bridge with University of California, Santa Cruz, or Cabrillo College?
5. A Hitchcock Center may stimulate related businesses: Hitch's House of Horrors or something like that for the kids.
The idea is to group several things to broaden the appeal. People come for the attraction and buy food, drinks, T-shirts and goods from the merchants.
We are lucky to live in a community with lots of creativity, so I hope this one small idea will stimulate many more ideas on how to increase the number of visitors to our town and open new discussions about what we as a community want for a Town Center.
Tom Gaspar, Scotts Valley