Ready to blossom? Here's why Weed's mayor is looking forward to 2021
As soon as the COVID-19 vaccine is widely available, restrictions are lifted and people begin traveling again, Weed’s mayor Sue Tavalero and city manager Tim Rundel believe the town could blossom in a big way.
A few projects are lined up in South Weed in 2021. Work is being done on one of the dilapidated downtown buildings, and two new businesses are poised to open on Main Street. Iconic buildings, including the Cedar Lanes Bowling Alley, Weed Bakery, and the Palace Theater are for sale.
“The second half of 2021 and all of 2022 are looking like they’re going to be booming, real estate-wise,” said Rundel, who moved from Oklahoma in March, two days after the doors to City Hall were locked at the start of the pandemic.
“It was a lovely welcome,” laughed Tavalero, who was re-elected for a second term on Weed’s City Council in November. She called Rundel’s hire one of the bright spots in an otherwise challenging year.
Six weeks after taking the reins in Weed, Rundel and all other city employees took a 10% furlough to shore the budget. This includes the city councilors, who get a $250 stipend, and Tavalero, who gets $300 as mayor.
“Had we not implemented (the furloughs) when we did, we would be laying people off right now,” said Rundel.
But things may soon be turning a corner. Weed has scheduled a special meeting workshop on Tuesday to discuss the budget, and Tavalero hopes the furloughs will soon be discontinued.
Among the projects planned for South Weed are a Love’s Truck Stop on the east side of Interstate 5, which has been delayed by litigation. Tavalero hopes the project will move forward to serve the abundance of truckers who utilize the area.
Shasta Jefferson is already at work developing an industrial cannabis project behind Grocery Outlet. Their buildings will look like warehouses – solid walled with clear roofs for “mixed light” growing, Tavalero said.
Also in South Weed, The Dollar Store (not to be confused with Dollar General, which already has a location in Weed) will be going in east of Grocery Outlet.
At the same time, progress is being made to clean up Weed’s Main Street and downtown area, Tavalero said. One of the building’s facades – the one that used to house the Eagle’s Nest and Casa Bella – is being repaired.
Tavalero couldn’t say whether the owners would address the inside of the building, noting the city only has say about the outside.
Rundel said he’s pleased that work is, at long last, being done to reinforce old brickwork and secure the building’s balcony. Dilapidated buildings aren’t just a health and safety hazard, but they deter businesses from setting up shop in downtown Weed, Rundel noted.
Tavalero called attention to the success of Weed’s two cannabis dispensaries – La Florista and Perfect Union – which have been “assets to the community.”
Tavalero was against allowing cannabis businesses in Weed when she was first elected four years ago. “I didn’t want Weed to be known for marijuana, or become a marijuana mecca,” she said.
But she had a change of heart after serving on an ad hoc committee and helping to craft a marijuana ordinance that’s “more strict than many other cities.”
For instance, all cannabis business signage is regulated, all the businesses must be on Main Street, and there are only two licenses – both of which are now filled.
Also downtown, the small triangular building that for 40 years housed Hecker’s Power Equipment was sold to a man and his son, who plan to open a pub there, Tavalero said. And a “fancy grilled cheese” and frozen yogurt business is another addition to Main Street that’s “ready to go” but has been put on hold by COVID-19, Tavalero said.
There’s hope that other downtown buildings, currently sitting vacant, will find new owners to bring them back to life.
The 10,000 square foot Cedar Lanes Bowling Alley building is for sale, listed by Coldwell Bankers for $275,000. The community was disheartened when, at the height of COVID, the bowling alley shuttered.
The Weed Bakery building, which includes a three bedroom apartment upstairs, is for sale by Mountain Living Real Estate.
The Palace Theater, which was built in the silent film era and later housed RadioStar Studios, is also for sale, although it’s no longer advertised on LoopNet.com.
Skye Kinkade is the editor of the Mt. Shasta Area Newspapers and the Siskiyou Daily News. She is a fourth generation Siskiyou County resident and has lived in Mount Shasta and Weed her entire life.