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Up and up in Upland

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SOON TO COME: Construction vehicles sit outside Dollar General in Upland, which is in the process of being built.
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SLICE OF SUCCESS: Delani Pattison, a server at Greek's Pizzeria in Upland, slices a pepperoni pizza on Saturday. Greek's is one of a few new businesses to open in Upland.

By Clay Winowiecki - cwinowiecki@chronicle-tribune.com

There's been a lot of change in Upland since last year and there's still much to come, according to Jonathan Perez, town manager.

Upland received three grants to improve roads, revitalize downtown and create its own section of the Cardinal Greenway. There is has also been a boom in new businesses opening shop, with potentially more to come. Upland residents have much to look forward to in the coming years. 

"The current thing that will happen this year is the RTP grant we got last year," Perez said. "In the spring, we'll begin and open our first mile of trail."

The $200,000 grant, which required a $50,000 match by the town, will be put toward creating a trail head and the first mile of the Cardinal Greenway.

The trail will begin near the Main Street bridge, across from Upland Tire. The trail will first head east, then south along the William Taylor Foundation land border.

"From a community development standpoint, it's imperative (to have green spaces)," Perez said. "We (want to) provide a place people want to live in."

Last year, Upland also received a nearly $1.5 million downtown development grant.

The grant will provide all new sidewalks, lighting, curbs, parking and intersections, according to Perez.

"It'll look like the downtowns that you want your downtown to look like," he added.

The projected completion date isn't until 2022, but it has already sparked interest in Upland from business owners.

"The announcement of that grant has lead to many positive conversations with current and potential businesses, (both) coming and expanding," Perez said.

Construction on the large project has already begun.

Perez said it was a “really big win” to get the downtown development grant because it was the first year the town had attempted to win it, which is unusual to receive on the first go around.

Last year, Upland also received a Community Crossings grant worth nearly $300,000 to pave eight different streets.

The town furthermore saw the opening of Greek's Pizzeria and Polished, a nail salon.

All of these advancements are an attempt to reach one goal. 

“We want to have something unique (in Upland) that creates a destination point for people,” said John Bonham, Upland council president.

Perez echoed a similar sentiment.

“I believe Upland is already a regional focal point with Taylor University and places like Ivanhoes,” Perez said. “That’s something we could build off of.”

Perez hopes people will be willing to travel one or two hours to visit Upland for a small weekend or day trip consisting of shopping, dining and events at Taylor University.

“There's a lot of events at Taylor that a lot of people within a 10 mile radius aren't even aware of,” he said. “Whether it's plays or sports that are really close. There’s lots of opportunities to get out and enjoy things.”

The town will also be seeing the opening of Dollar General soon.

According to Bonham, the store is tentatively set to open on Jan. 26.

Due to the Dollar General moving in, DollarSmart has rebranded itself to Walnut Creek Country Market.

“It’s a huge addition,” Perez said. “(It’s) filling a void ... Finding that niche with baked goods and fruits and vegetables and I’m so excited about the Amish baked goods they're bringing in.”