There were good reasons to feel optimistic in the spring of 1973. The last American soldiers left Vietnam. The Watergate hearings started and people began taking the scandal seriously, with public opinion swinging from it being "just politics" to "very serious."

In Santa Rosa, the Press Democrat published its "Outlook 73" supplement which painted a very rosy picture of things to come. We would soon have a wonderful downtown shopping center with three major department stores and up to 85 stores. And soon after that a renewal project for Railroad Square will include a community center with a 2,500 seat performing arts theater and a 50,000 sq. ft. convention hall.

The photo accompanying that cheery item showed roughly bulldozed acres covered in puddles. Not long before, the land had been filled with mom 'n' pop stores, repair shops, apartment buildings and more. In the name of urban renewal, that business and residential district was turned into this scene of desolation - which is how it would remain for the next seven years. It's tough to stay optimistic for that long, particularly when a growing number of people were beginning to question whether the shopping center was such a good idea in the first place.

The rest of this article can be read at the SantaRosaHistory.com website. Because of recurring problems with the Blogger platform, I am no longer wasting my time formatting and posting complete articles here. I will continue to create stubs for the sake of continuity, but will be publishing full articles only at SantaRosaHistory.com. - Jeff Elliott

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