Friday, July 08, 2005

Banning by Night

I just found this unique picture postcard. It is totally black in color, no picture. The caption says,"Banning by Night". The other side is just a regular post card. What's the real message here? Yes, it is very dark at night here. There are few street lights. The stars are very visible. I have trained my telescope from my terrace on them. The days are clear and the view from my front windows is spectacular...Mt. San Gorgonio!...still snowcapped. It is very quiet at night also, just the occasional "nostalgic" train whistle. It cools off at night, even in the summer being 1/2 a mile high. Almost a perfect place to retire, right?

Here is a suburb town that still wants to be know as "a quiet spot between mountains and desert" as an recent article in the L.A. Times was titled. It sits 85 miles east and light-years away from the bustle of L.A. It is bracketed by the two tallest Mts. in the area, Gorgonio and Jacinto (where Idylwild is). The climate was so temperate that the Serrano and Cahuilla Indians made it their season home. It was also a stagecoach stop for the Colorado Stage & Express Line, connecting L.A. with the gold found along the Colorado River. The railroad eventually replaced the stagecoach. Then I-10 passed the whole town by and it just about died.

Now they are starting to look at an alternative route through it's outskirts. Developers are also cutting up those outskirts along its borders east and west. Oscar Orci, the City's Community Development Director said that people buying homes in or near Banning are attracted to its open spaces. "You can still see cattle grazing in pastures. Banning is still a slice of Americana."
Mikki Bloomer, with Banning Realty, said that the newer homes are of most interest to buyers, but there is nothing close to a "buying frenzy" in Banning. The San Gorgonio Pass area has grown in recent years and the communities of Oak Glen, Yucaipa, Calimesa and even Beaumont are enjoying a boom. Banning remains a relative bargain, $100K less than a similar one, ten minutes away. The city is working to preserve some of the historical Craftman and California Bungalows built around the time of incorporation, 1913.

Is it possible that there might be a way to "reluctantly grow and develop" and still preserve some of these "values" of rural living? Will it continue to attract mainly retirement communities like Sun Lakes? There is currently quite a disagreement with its neighbor city, Beaumont over the attempts to "redistrict" and "redraw" the current school district lines. I won't go there in this blog. It is way too complicated. Yes, I live in Banning, but I work and volunteer in Beaumont. They are both worthy of consideration for differing reasons on differing issues. Remember, my beginnings, were, most likely around here someplace. No, I plan to stick around and see what happens...especially at night. Bob


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