Menifee resident LaSondra Mila was selected from hundreds of entries as the winner of the Menifee 24/7 contest to suggest a new tenant for the vacant Albertson's building at Newport and Murrieta Roads.
Mila was one of several readers to suggest one of the most popular ideas, a bowling alley. She submitted the most convincing argument, however, stating all the potential benefits to both residents and the city. As winner of our contest, Mila received a $50 VISA gift card.
No, we can't guarantee the developer will take Mila up on her suggestion and lease or sell the space to someone who will set up the pins for us. It was announced here late last week that Red Mountain Retail Group is finalizing purchase of the property and has tentative plans to lease a third of the space to a Fitness 19 gym. Nothing has been approved by the city, however, and Red Mountain is still seeking tenants for at least two-thirds of the property.
So maybe there's still time for Mila to make her argument. At any rate, here's the text of her winning entry:
My name is LaSondra Mila and I have been a resident of Menifee since 2000. I believe that a bowling center would be perfect for our community. Why?
1. Create additional jobs for our residents, including high school and college students.
2. Create additional revenue for the City of Menifee.
2. Create FUN for the entire family.
3. They can have bowling leagues for young teens, adults and seniors.
4. An arcade for younger children
5. A daycare for those bowling
6. Have a Pro Shop
7. Private Banquet Rooms
8. Cosmic Bowling
9. Small restaurant/dining area
10. Small bar area with Karaoke and feature local artists
Please know that we really need a place where we, as a community, can gather for fun and network within our families and businesses.
I hope that you consider this idea for my beautiful city of Menifee.
We'd like to thank LaSondra Mila for her great idea and all others who made suggestions, both as official contest entries and as comments on our website and Facebook page. A couple of quick notes in response to some of those entries:
-- Another of the most popular suggestions was a Trader Joe's market, which was no surprise to us. We hear requests for a Trader Joe's all the time. However, both Eric Nelson of Red Mountain Retail Group and a Menifee city official told us the same thing: Trader Joe's is not interested in moving into this area at this time.
"Trader Joe's is in a unique position," said Jeff Wyman, economic development director for the City of Menifee. "Because they are so popular for the specific products they offer, they get to pick wherever they go. We've been told they are trying to focus more on expanding into the more densely populated areas along the coast. It's not just Menifee they aren't looking at. They are not looking to expand anywhere in Southwest Riverside County."
Sorry, Trader Joe's backers.
-- Another popular suggestion was a community center, teen center ... "somewhere for the kids to go." Granted, this is a great idea. But keep in mind, the city doesn't own that property and isn't in the market to buy or lease it. Anyone interested in filling that space will need to make a profit as well as provide a valuable service to residents.
That's why we chose Mila's suggestion. We believe it not only serves the community in many ways, it also could be a very profitable business for someone.
So who's got some cash to invest in a bowling alley? C'mon, we're waiting. Meanwhile, here's a list of some of the other suggestions proposed by our readers. And thanks again for entering!
Ice skating rink
Whole Foods market
Cardenas Mexican food market
99 cents store
Paint Ball center
Big 5 Sporting Goods
Go-Karts and Laser Tag
Indoor Splash Park
Indoor Flea Market
New City Hall