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History Considered As Wildomar Grows

Wildomar's history to be considered in new plan.

The long history of Route 395 through Southwest Riverside is taking another twist in the road.

Monday City Manager Frank Oviedo announced that Wildomar will receive up to $125,000 in grant funding to develop a plan for the city’s historic areas, possibly including where old 395 used to travel near Central and Palomar streets.

Oviedo said Wildomar's plan would complement the Jefferson Avenue corridor project headed by the Western Riverside Council of Government, which is currently in a study phase looking at a 16-mile span of Jefferson Avenue from Rancho California Road in Temecula, through Murrieta and Wildomar, eventually up to Lake Elsinore -- areas where old 395 once meandered, and where history still sits.

The idea behind the Jefferson Avenue corridor project is for cities along the route to share planning and transportation opportunities, and coordinate and work toward creating viable business hubs to benefit local residents.

The goal of the Wildomar plan is to review all areas in the city that have historic value, but then focus on planning a particular area. Money to fund project comes from a Southern California Association of Government’s Compass Blueprint Demonstration Project grant.

“Now that we are a city, grants like this are helping us to finally begin addressing our future planning needs,” Mayor Marsha Swanson said in a news release Monday. “I expect once this plan is complete, we will not only be able to use it to preserve our city’s history, but we can also use it to further the city’s economic development goals.”

Councilman Bob Cashman has written about Wildomar’s history in his book, Wildomar (Arcadia Publishing, 2010). In Monday’s news release he said the city’s history is vital to planning efforts.

“As it has been wisely said, ‘The past informs the future.’ These efforts will give me a chance to share with residents the rural heritage and rich history of Wildomar so that we can make informed decisions as we move the city forward,” Cashman said.

Old 395 was once a significant roadway through what is now considered Southwest Riverside. The route entered Temecula heading over to Old Town, up Front Street onto Jefferson Street, then jogged left at Ivy Street and into Old Town Murrieta, then continued north into Wildomar and Lake Elsinore. In the mid 1900s, the highway shifted east through Menifee and Perris Valley.

The Jefferson Avenue corridor could serve as an alternate freeway route from Lake Elsinore to Temecula, according to Murrieta Community Development Director Mary Lanier. Late last year she told Patch that the multi-city corridor plan leaves Temecula, Murrieta, Wildomar and Lake Elsinore to consider: "How are our transportation networks connecting? These are areas evolved from country rural areas. Now we're all getting to a point where we continue that dialogue beyond our boundaries.

“By connecting the cities, you have that linkage,” Lanier continued. “It's a very good approach to a more regional transport network.”

But Oviedo said that with the $125,000 Compass Blueprint Demonstration Project, Wildomar residents have a chance to decide how their city should look, apart from their neighbors.

“The grant allows us to shape into something uniquely Wildomar,” he said, noting that Temecula, Murrieta and Lake Elsinore may have different goals and objectives. Oviedo said there will be public meetings to provide a forum for Wildomar voices to be heard.

The community, he said, will ultimately decide what Wildomar’s identity should be.

Ken Mayes October 25, 2011 at 04:41 PM
They need to give the money back, there is no history left in Wilomar except for a bell no one knows the origin of and a old house on blocks by the freeway. Everything else has been torn down or burned down over the years, even the cemetery has been moved a couple of times.
Martha L. Bridges October 25, 2011 at 10:43 PM
Ken is right, there is very little left of buildings with historic value in Wildomar. The idea of recreating an "old town" is little more than building an over-worked Disney-like theme park to attract tourists. It has little to do with honoring Wildomar's real past which has plenty of historic value, and everything to do with so-called "economic" development which is the questionable dream of Swanson and the other city council members. This old town theme has already been done in Murrieta and Temecula and doesn't need repeating in Wildomar. Let's honor the past by letting it inform the future, and fix our sights on building good, new development.
Roberto October 26, 2011 at 03:29 AM
What about William, Donald & Magaret? Marna O'Brien? David A. Brown, the WIN committee? I believe Marna's her home still sits near Grand and Clinton Keith... I can go on but ya get my drift. Places like Murrietta Trafficula have no long history largly because it was a large chunk of land designated a master planned slum other than the both have a small downtown area. Don't be like the newbies, be proud of your history. Jennie Corral would be a good reference source.
Ken Mayes October 26, 2011 at 04:09 AM
Wildomar was a real estate deal put on by the railroads unloading all the free land they received from congress. It just occurred right before a recession in the 1890's and along with the washing out of the rail line south of Temecula the area known as Wildomar languished for around 100 years before developers and real estate agents perpetrated the same thing all over again. Same history here as in hundreds of similar towns across the west during the same time period.
Wizard Without Remorse October 26, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I side with Roberto on this one. I'm sorry if our little town's history is not up to the standards of Rome or Paris but we do have history. We could even put up a building celebrating the history of failed mayoral candidates who seem to complain whenever the current city council makes any decision. As a San Diego native I do remember the old Highway 395. As a child I thought Temecula was in a different country because it was so far away from home. The world has certainly shrunk! I don't remember driving through Murrieta and Wildomar but I imagine my parents would if they were still around.
Martha L. Bridges October 26, 2011 at 01:10 PM
If you read my first comment again, you will note that I suggested we honor the honest history of Wildomar. Furthermore, I recommend that we preserve the few remaining buildings that have some true historic value - if and when we have a surplus of funds to pay for the non-essential costs. However, these historic buildings are few and far between as most have been torn down and replaced with new development or simply allowed to fall into disrepair. The envisioned old town project has little or nothing to do with real preservation. It is based on creating a fake old town community which probably never existed for purely commercial or tourist attracting purposes. And, that would be a theme-park like project which has been over-worked again and again. It would certainly do nothing to distinguish Wildomar from all the other surrounding communities.
JoAnn October 26, 2011 at 11:16 PM
I disagree with many of you who have posted about giving the money back. I have lived in this town since 1992. The cemetery had already been there for quite some time and the town was a nice rural community. You could have horses, we had our little stores and schools, post office and no streetlights like many small towns. Why not look at a way to connect our town to Temecula and Murrieta all the way up through Lake Elsinore? We can't allow things to languish and not do anything..our Palomar Street wouldn't need to be like Temecula's (which is fabulous, historical but relevant to attract people from all over) Murrieta not so much...the council and the naysayers couldn't get anything done when they had the opportunity in the 80's and 90's. Let's talk about how we can make this happen and what WE want it to look like. Quit being naysayers always looking to criticize, be part of the solution, we need to spruce things up again and get people excited about our little town..people are turned off by all the bickering..and don't participate because everyone always wants to pick things a part and then nothing can get done...let's pull together and put together a vision that combines the old and the new..make it a place where our kids want to stay when they grow up...and where we can be excited to call home. I'm just saying....
Ken Mayes October 27, 2011 at 12:21 AM
As you said JoAnn this was a nice little rural community, until the robber barons (developers) showed up and built all these houses in a haphazard way promising the moon like regional parks, colleges and on an on. Then they all disappeared with all the money they made. What is wrong with remaining a nice rural community, why do we need another useless downtown to attract tourist, could you only be thinking about the sales tax money.
Roberto October 27, 2011 at 03:21 AM
Wildomar had to prove as a community of interest the vialbility for being designated a city. This included have a demontrating logical boundries and a common history for the proposed city. Wildomar's history is rich in history including some strange characters... Better hurry and get started documenting things like Elsinore High onced served the entire valley from Temecula all the way to Tom's farms and beyond. I think Jeanie Corral must be about 85 years old by now...
Martha L. Bridges October 27, 2011 at 01:54 PM
A secondary road connecting the cities is a good idea for safety and local traffic control. One of the challenges of getting people to "pull together" on this or other projects is that they are very divided when it comes to their goals. If they are talking about a secondary road that would provide a practical alternative to I-15 for local traffic, then I could support it. If, however, they want to use the secondary road to build yet one more fake old town, I would oppose the whole project. There is a great difference between geniune historical sites, and building a theme-park tourist trap to generate traffic and sales tax revenue. You may think old town Temecula is fabulous, while others think it is a traffic congested mess and only about as relevant as the sales tax revenue it generates. Speaking of historical facts, there was no council in Wildomar in the 80's and 90's. There were and are lots of Wildomar residences who got very excited about living in a quiet, semi-rural town long before you and other development-minded people arrived in 1992. They are excited about maintaining a special kind of life style that doesn't revolve around giant big box stores and more roof tops built on postage stamp sized lots where kids have no yards to play in. And, childern will seek employment and go where they can get it as adults. Naysayers, as you label them, are on solid ground when they step up to oppose poorly conceived development and protect the community they love.
Martha L. Bridges October 27, 2011 at 02:18 PM
Some people in Wildomar wanted it to become a city, and the so-called proof they offered to LAFCO to get that done, the highly inflated CFA, has proved to be about as fake as most of the old town developments we see scattered about the valley. These WIN people and the local Chamber of Commerce used empty promises of regional parks, community centers, colleges and big box stores as part of their false financial projections to get what they wanted...a developer's dream with local government ready, willing and able to rubber stamp every questionable project. In the end, WIN got what they wanted, not because they proved potential fiscal viability, but because Riverside County wanted to dump the community and its costs off the county's books. I say honor the truth and the very real and interesting history of our area; just don't let the developers utilize it to justify building yet one more fake-fronted old town. Wildomar needs basic, essential services and a good dose of reality. A fake old town is all about more development and the tax money, not historical preservation.
Kathy Szubota November 04, 2011 at 08:01 PM
I think since Widomar is a new city, why not honor the past BUT....call it New Town Wildomar...looking towards the future...we already have Old Town Temecula/Murrieta..stop looking backwards and make Wildomar the future city. For instance a Sustainable City, preserving our natural resources, energy efficient buildings, local farms for our community. A place where the people thrive to enjoy good health and create a high quality of life. Neighborhoods that use land efficiently, not in back yards but shared parks and public spaces that are plentiful and easily visited. Where daily life needs can be met with a 20 minute walk. Where transit of rail, bus, bikes are near by. Encourage new small business start ups that reflect this vision instead of big box stores and centers.Our planners should recognize the interdependence of economic, environmental and social issues. Preserve the past but plan for a sustainabe high tech future city different from the others. (my pipe dream for Wildomar)
Popeye November 04, 2011 at 10:53 PM
Wildomar will eventually go bact to the county. You all will continue to use Temecula's services. We have open parks, malls and a old town.
Joanie November 05, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I've lived here since '79 and at no time have I seen anything worth preserving as a means of "looking back" upon. Few outside of locals, their family & friends have ever even heard of Wildomar, so while there may be a small niche of historical interest, it's certainly not enough of one to warrant development into our past. I do agree that we'd be better served to build towards our future with ventures that are of real interest, not only to our current population but in ways that will entice our young to remain here once they're ready to start their own families. And for that you need an outstanding education system, ample employment opportunities and a small town vibe of interesting shops and dining establishments that make a community feel like home. People come from all over to visit and shop at Tom's Farms because it's interesting and different with a comfortable outdoor setting that invites you to stay awhile. We don't need to be a "Tom's Farms" or have an "Old Town", but we can require that developers build an interesting NEW one, with quality, big name stores (miniature Victoria Gardens style) that isn't just another asphalt shopping center. One where people want to come just to meander around and enjoy a day out. Including having upscale to moderate condos built above business establishments, as is being done in Orange County and San Diego, but in a small town fashion. Ouch! I had to pinch myself awake. I'm dreaming of a future that I don't think we're ready for yet!

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