Tonight, the Eureka City Council will discuss whether to spend $450,000 on a stoplight. That’s enough cash to buy every man, woman and child in town a cheeseburger.
And a soft drink.
With plenty of change left over.
For the developer requesting the spotlight in hopes that In-and-Out Burger will land on the corner of Broadway and Vigo Street, maybe.
For Eureka’s taxpayers, not so much.
Full disclosure: The developer in question is the Carrington Company, which owns the building housing the current offices of this newspaper. It is the developer, not the national burger chain, threatening to yank the project altogether if the city doesn’t fork over nearly half a million for the new stoplight.
Don’t do it, Eureka.
Paying nearly half a million to make way for yet another fast food joint and the four other eateries expected to share the neighboring space isn’t worth the cost. While the city estimates it would recoup the investment in under eight years, it has no way of knowing for sure which of the five restaurants will thrive in that space, which will merely survive, and which will fold.
As we’ve previously pointed out here (“Fishwrap raps burger madness,” Times-Standard, Oct. 27, Page A4), Eureka residents already have plenty of local burgers to feast upon. Should a new burger behemoth set up shop on Broadway and put local competitors out of business, Eureka will have paid nearly half a million dollars to trade one empty lot for one or more empty lots.
In recent years, we have been surprised, impressed and proven wrong by the city’s attempts at revitalization. Eureka’s shown it can tackle its challenges creatively, and it’s more creativity the city needs to show tonight — not more money thrown at another development to the ultimate benefit of another burger joint we don’t need.
If you go
When: Special meeting today at 6 p.m.
Where: Eureka City Council chambers, 531 K St., Eureka
• In a special meeting, the council will continue to discuss allocating unencumbered general fund reserves to the construction of a $450,000 traffic signal at the Broadway and Vigo Street intersection.
The agenda of tonight’s meeting can be found online at https://bit.ly/2zPQJ5I.