Santa Ana Wellness District Postponed to Next Council Meeting

The Santa Ana City Council Tuesday night postponed its scheduled discussion of a proposed downtown wellness district that would affirm the area’s Latino character after the mayor and a councilwoman didn’t show up to the meeting.

Activists with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities have been advocating the district since December, when economist Jeb Bruegmann presented a study funded by the California Endowment that found Central Santa Ana residents to be a largely untapped economic resource in the downtown.

According to Bruegmann’s study, the city could bring in an additional $137 million in spending to the downtown by creating a Latino business corridor that focuses on bringing back customers from residents who, despite living so close to the downtown, have been lost to big-box retailers.

But not all are sold on the idea. Some new residents and businesses have expressed reservations that it could exclude newcomers who have been the primary clientele of the artisan eateries that are popping up around downtown.

The discussion was postponed to the April 7 council meeting so the full council could vet the proposal, according to activists who were briefed on the continuance. Mayor Miguel Pulido and Councilwoman Angelica Amezcua were absent from Tuesday’s meeting.

Although dozens showed up to support the district, they didn’t appear to be disappointed. If anything, there was confidence that the council will likely be passing the district.

Ana Urzua, a campaign coordinator with Santa Ana Building Healthy Communities, told the assembled crown that activists have received indications from council members that they will be approving the proposed district. She mentioned the council support while receiving an award from Councilwoman Michele Martinez.

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