Carousel Mall will ‘continue putting people’s lives at risk,’ San Bernardino leader says – San Bernardino Sun

San Bernardino leaders are expected to reconsider a plan to demolish the Carousel Mall following the three-alarm fire there this past weekend.

While county fire officials and city staffers have worked together in recent months to keep the shuttered shopping center buttoned up, firefighters have responded to 26 incidents there since January, assistant county fire Chief Dan Mejia told the City Council Wednesday, May 18.

All told, Mejia added, repeatedly directing resources to extinguishing blazes at the Carousel Mall limits personnel available to respond to other emergencies.

“By not taking action with this mall,” Councilman Juan Figueroa said, “we’re going to continue putting people’s lives at risk.”

Mayor John Valdivia on Monday called the Carousel Mall “a health and safety hazard for the community.”

“God forbid,” he said in a phone interview, “someone is trapped in there during a fire. I want to make sure this isn’t the next major catastrophic event in San Bernardino.”

Valdivia subsequently urged his colleagues Monday to reconsider his plan to level the long-closed shopping center.

Wednesday, he directed City Manager Rob Field to return to the council at a later date with an item outlining demolition proceedings.

It is unclear at the moment when that item will be discussed.

“As a council,” Valdivia said Wednesday, “we need to entertain that.”

Two years ago, San Bernardino leaders past and present considered demolishing the abandoned mall to make the 43-acre downtown property more appealing to developers.

The $10 million proposal was ultimately shelved.

In March 2021, the council chose the team of Renaissance Downtowns USA and ICO Real Estate Group to redevelop the Carousel Mall site.

While city leaders and residents await word on what will become of the property, city workers in recent weeks have installed welded steel bars and wrought iron gates on certain entrances.

Work still is underway on installing wrought iron gates to secure larger places of entry, city spokesman Jeff Kraus said in an email this week.

But, he added, “the work done in the past few months has made a significant difference, although it is a constant battle.”

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