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County would not fund closure

Title: County would not fund closure
Date: Friday, 21 August 2009
Publisher: Valley Chronicle
Author: Charles Hand
Main source:

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GILMAN SPRINGS: Supervisor’s aide says Golden Era would need community leaders’ OK.

Whatever happens with Gilman Springs Road, it will not happen at county expense, says Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone’s chief aide, Verne Lauritzen.

Representatives of the Scientology compound that is bisected by Gilman Springs Road between Highway 79 and Soboba Road have approached some public officials, including Stone, about closing off that segment of the road.

“They have contacted us a number of times,” Lauritzen said, “but they are on their own for funding. The county doesn’t have any money.”

Lauritzen said closing off the road would also need the approval of officials in the communities in the area that would be affected by such a closure.

Some members of the San Jacinto City Council have made it clear they would not support it.

Lauritzen also said the county would not initiate any attempt to close off the road.

Golden Era Productions spokeswoman Cathy Fraser said last week that the issue is safety. There has been a number of accidents along that portion of Gilman Springs Road, she said.

If safety is an issue, said Lauritzen, the Scientologists may want to install traffic calming devices.

Both Fraser and opponents of the closure cite the Valley’s congestion as support.

Fraser said the increased traffic through and across the Valley requires a wider road than the two-lane Gilman Springs Road.

San Jacinto City Councilman Jim Potts said he agrees. In fact, he said, it may be a good idea to widen the stretch of Gilman Springs Road between Highway 79 and Soboba Road, rather than close it.

He also proposed during the last City Council meeting that the city seek an updated letter from the Riverside County Fire Department, which has in the past said that closing the road would increase emergency response times.

Fraser, however, said the road could stay open to emergency traffic.