The five-member San Jacinto City Council made it clear no one on the council favors the closing of Gilman Springs Road from state Route 79, which is being discussed in recent Facebook posts. The road runs along the foothills from state Route 60 in Moreno Valley to the Soboba Indian Reservation in San Jacinto.
The council, following a discussion Tuesday, Nov. 7, on the possible closure of Gilman Springs Road that transects the Church of Scientology property and passes the currently under construction Soboba Resort and Casino, made a motion agreeing never to suggest closing off the county road and promised to recommend making a traffic circulation study in hopes of one day widening the roadway.
It was pointed out in the regular city council session that the city of San Jacinto has no authority to close off the highway since it is a dedicated Riverside County highway. The county is responsible for its care and maintenance. It is one of the few highways in and out of the city that residents can use in a major emergency.
Ten residents spoke on the issue during the regular council meeting, all citing the roadways importance to the community and its visitors including Rose Salgado, Scott Cozart and his wife Mary from the Soboba Band of Luseno Indians Tribal Council.
Salgado said the road is “a major corridor” from Moreno Valley and connects with SR-60 used by many commuters from San Jacinto. The Scott and Mary Cozart said the highway is important to the tribe and San Jacinto “doesn’t have enough exit strategies as it is…We need to widen the road.”
The possible closing of Gilman Springs Road has been suggested by the leaders of the Church of Scientology in past years and has gained support from a few former residents who feared the secretive organization was engaged in alleged criminal activities, according to one of the speakers.
All closure requests have been denied. The religious group has a tunnel underneath the roadway they use to access their property on both sides of the highway and has helped make some improvements at the Church of Scientology-owned Golden Era Golf Course, according to public records.
Mayor Pro Tem Alonso Ladezma, who favors the highway’s widening, said he owns property along Gilman Springs Road and would be willing to dedicate some of it to the county if they decide to widen the road.
Councilman Andrew Kotyuk who said there has been some misunderstanding of comments made outside of the council meeting and said emphatically, “I have never been an advocate to close Gilman Springs Road. That just doesn’t make sense.” He joined with the councilmembers saying they would never suggest that idea.
In other business, following a presentation by San Jacinto Water Utilities Superintendent Dan Mudrovich, the council approved the replacement and rehabilitation of the six-inch steel main water line at San Marcos Place and Seventh Street at an estimated cost of $310,000.
The water line was installed between 1970 and 1974 and is corroded. It has been the site of 10 repairs at considerable cost to the city. Mudrovich said an entire line failure could be imminent.
The proposal will replace 637 linear feet of pipe with 8-inch PVC pipe, two new full-service fire hydrants and 13 new service connections on San Marcos Place. Seventh Street, between San Marcos Place and Santa Fe Street, will consist of 345 linear feet of 8-inch, PVC pipe and two service connections.