Tag Archives: district

West Sac looks to public art to help unify Sac/West Sac streetcar line

NEWS-LEDGER — JAN 14, 2014 —

The West Sacramento City Council voted last month to work with regional partners to apply for a public arts grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) . The “Our Town” grant of up to $200,000 would focus on bringing art pieces to the city’s Washington neighborhood and the future streetcar route connecting Sacramento and West Sacramento.

Also involved in the art planning project are the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, the City of Sacramento and Crocker Arts Museum.

“The ‘Our Town’ proposal envisions art installations as a place-making feature of the planned streetcar route and way-finding for bicyclists and pedestrians moving between West Sacramento’s waterfront neighborhoods and civic center and Sacramento’s railyards, capitol and museums,” said a staff report. “The cities would also use the funds to select one artist that will create two pieces which will engage, interact or connect with each other to be installed in each side of the river respectively. Another installation will be analyzed within the Washington District depending on the final grant award amount and budget.”

The plan being proposed to the NEA calls first for a consultant to work with the public and create a “curatorial vision” for the Washington district and streetcar area. No actual art pieces have yet been picked.

The city has already received a $400,000 grant for art from the state parks department, for art at the corner of Riverwalk and Tower Bridge Gateway, with a $200,000 local match.  These funds will be used as the “local match” needed for the proposed NEA grant.

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Riverfront concert: ‘a hit’, say sponsors

NEWS-LEDGER — OCT 8, 2014 —

A music festival’s first time on the West Sacramento riverfront appeared to be a success.

Organizers say “TBD Fest” from Friday to Sunday in West Sacramento’s Bridge District drew about 21,000 people.  The event was formerly known as “Launch” and held annually in Sacramento.

Dozens of musical acts included headliners Moby, Empire of the Sun, and Justice. There was also food and art.

West Sacramento is trying to redevelop and show off its riverfront as a gathering place.

The event did draw noise complaints from people living nearby on both sides of the river.

Lieutenant Tod Sockman of the West Sacramento Police Department told the News-Ledger that his department received 16 noise complaints on Friday night and seven more on Saturday, with no figures available for Sunday.

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Final candidates for mayor, city council and West Sac school board:

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — AUG 13, 2014 —

News-Ledger Staff

The filing period for local candidates is over. Your local ballot in November will look something like this:

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon, who has held his post since 2004, will run for another two-year term. But he will draw a challenger: Narinder Hundal, has also filed papers to run for mayor in West Sacramento. The News-Ledger wasn’t immediately able to reach him for comment. Hundal is listed on the ballot as a “business owner.”

City Council incumbents Chris Ledesma and Mark Johannessen are officially running again (Johannessen just completed an unsuccessful bid for State Assembly).

Competing with them for a pair of four-year seats are Jeff Lyon and Nancy Heth-Tran.

Both were among the dozens of applicants for a vacant city council seat earlier this year. Heth-Tran lists her occupation as “energy specialist”; her application for the council vacancy earlier this year listed her employer as the California Energy Commission, and provided a residential address near Raley Field.

Lyon identified himself as a “retired government chief” who lives on 4th Street. He is a former state employee.

There are two vacant seats on the local school board, each for a four-year term.

Board member Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez, an “incumbent/teacher/parent” who lives in Southport, has filed to run again.

So did challengers Norma Alcala (who identified herself as an activist and business owner during a previous interview with the News-Ledger) and Joshua R. Alves, a “parent/education volunteer.” Both candidates live in homes on Woodhaven Lane in the north-city.

Adam Menke, a fellow board member of the Washington Unified School District, did not file to run again. That means the deadline for challengers to file was extended to August 13. (EDITOR’S NOTE: no new challengers took advantage of that extended deadline.)

Also on the West Sacramento ballot will be Measure V, a $49.8 million school bond measure meant to renovate, repair and upgrade local school facilities. School officials said this measure would cost property owners about $39 per year for every $100,000 of property value. Owners of a home assessed at $300,000, for example, would pay $117 in new taxes annually.

The measure needs 55 percent voter approval to pass.

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West Sac voters will face $49.8 million school bond in November

Local school district doesn’t plan to build any news schools, but does hope to pay for some repairs and upgrades at West Sacramento campuses

— NEWS-LEDGER — JULY 2, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

West Sacramento voters will be asked to approve a $49.8 million school bond on the November 4 general election ballot.

If the bond measure earns the required 55 percent voter approval, it will help fund the local school district’s laundry list of needed capital improvements –possible items such as fire systems, wheelchair access ramps, heating and ventilation units, windows, paving and security systems.

A motion to place the bond on the November ballot passed 4-0 at last Thursday’s meeting of the Washington Unified School District board of trustees. The action needed all four “yes” votes to take effect – and board member Alicia Cruz overcame her initial reluctance to support a 2014 bond and eventually provided the needed fourth vote.

Board member Adam Menke was absent from the meeting. Cruz joined fellow trustees Katie Villegas, Mary Leland and Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez in supporting the bond.

MARY LELAND: ‘community will support this bond’ (News-Ledger file photo)

MARY LELAND:
‘community will support this bond’
(News-Ledger file photo)

Board member Mary Leland was the first of the group to speak up after hearing a staff presentation on the proposed school bond. She noted that the bond would pay for campus safety measures and “ADA,” or “Americans with Disabilities Act,” compliance.

“I’ve been very anxious to see this on the agenda,” commented Leland at the meeting. “The community is willing to support this bond, and safety is very highly rated on their list. . . In addition, we’re not going to be able to provide career and college readiness if our facilities aren’t up to date.”

“I admit I as on the fence, going back and forth wondering if this was the right time,” added board colleague Sarah Kirby-Gonzalez.

SARAH KIRBY- GONZALEZ:  ‘let the voters’ decide’ (News-Ledger file photo)

SARAH KIRBY-
GONZALEZ:
‘let the voters’ decide’
(News-Ledger file photo)

She called for a “carefully thought-out” bond expenditure plan and warned that “it’s important to realize the bond will not fix everything.” The bond money would pay for about a quarter of the district’s capital improvements costs, said Kirby-Gonzalez.

Trustee Katie Villegas, who as a private citizen headed up a previous WUSD school bond measure, recalled that running a bond campaign is “a ton of work.” That bond paid for the new River City High School campus.

“I literally ran that high school bond day to day from my garage,” she said. “We’re at a time now where we need to make some investments, particularly in the north area, in our aging schools.”

Alicia Cruz, chairing the meeting, initially dissented.

“I don’t feel this is the right time for a bond,” she said, earning a bout of polite persuasion from her colleagues on the board.

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond (News-Ledger file photo)

ALICIA CRUZ: school board member was reluctant to support this bond
(News-Ledger file photo)

Her colleagues seemed to agree that waiting for the higher turnout of a 2016 presidential election might give the bond a better chance to pass.

“But can our district wait that  much time?” asked Villegas.  At one point, Villegas added:

“This isn’t for building a new high school or anything. This is basic stuff. Have you been to Bryte (Elementary School) lately? It’s horrible.”

Kirby-Gonzalez spoke for the majority when she suggested the board simply vote to put the bond on the November ballot, and then see what West Sacramento voters have to say about it.

“I would argue that we just put it out there,” she said. “We put it out there and let them make a choice.”

Cruz detailed one of her objections, which was to the lengthy list of possible projects that bond money could be spent on.

“What scares me is the list of items the bond will cover,” said Cruz. “I think it’s voluminous. I don’t think it’s specific.”

KATIE VILLEGAS:  campaign will be  ‘a ton of work’ (News-Ledger file photo)

KATIE VILLEGAS:
campaign will be
‘a ton of work’
(News-Ledger file photo)

But despite having “that feeling in your gut that says this is not the thing,” concluded Cruz, she eventually agreed to provide the needed fourth vote.

Why?

“Because I am part of a team and I know the district needs this,” she told her colleagues.

The per-household cost of the bond has been estimated downward. The bond resolution capped the cost at $60 per year for every $100,000 in property value, but the board was advised last week that the actual cost would be about $39 annually for every $100,000 in property value. A $300,000 home, therefore, would be taxed around $117 per year over the life of the bond repayment.

The school district conducted a public survey in February to gauge public support for a 2014 bond.

“Although the results were positive, it was clear that a bond campaign would be needed to ensure the public was aware of the need for facility funding that exceeded both (WUSD’s) and the State’s capacity,” noted a district staff report.

The community has a mixed record of supporting school bond measures.

In other business, the school board was briefed on the school district’s budget. The big picture view of the budget is that WUSD is recovering from several years of deficit spending as the State of California’s finances improve. The local district is, to some degree, repairing and rebuilding programs.

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014

‘Tour de West Sac’ citizens poke around some city hot spots on two wheels

CHRIS LEDESMA (towards right, with dark shirt) makes a point about the Michael McGowan Bridge now under construction on South River Road. The bridge will first connect South River Road, and later connect with Village Parkway in Southport. (News-Ledger photo)

CHRIS LEDESMA (towards right, with dark shirt) makes a point about the Michael McGowan Bridge now under construction on South River Road. The bridge will first connect South River Road, and later connect with Village Parkway in Southport. Click to enlarge.  (News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — JUNE 4, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

Close to 50 people joined West Sacramento city councilman Chris Ledesma on Saturday, May 31, for the “Tour de West Sac,” an informal bike tour of some of the town’s new and soon-to-be-new highlights.

The group departed from Nugget market in Southport. Using the Clarksburg Branch Line Trail and local roads, they visited the bridge now under construction on South River Road, the Bridge District, Broderick restaurant, Sycamore Trail and Bike Dog Brewery.

The News-Ledger met up with the group at the construction site of the Michael McGowan Bridge, a span that will soon cross the barge canal on South River Road.

Ledesma explained to the crowd that the land was formerly owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the $12 million bridge will first connect both halves of South River Road across the waterway, and later will connect with Village Parkway.

“It will be another arterial from north to south,” said Ledesma. “It will have bike lanes on it, and we are doing plumbing and wiring to accommodate a streetcar.”

Ledesma also made reference to a long-awaited new bridge the other direction: one running east to west, connecting West Sacramento to I-5 and Sacramento. He said that such a bridge – long opposed by Sacramento leaders – is now in the works, and this planned “Broadway Bridge” will probably land north of the bridge site, near where a Clark Pacific cement plant tower near stands.

The plant’s site, the acreage near the McGowan Bridge and much of the rest of the city’s industrial riverfront will eventually transition to more urban-style uses, said Ledesma.

And as a note of trivia, Ledesma added that West Sacramento-based Clark Pacific is the same company now fabricating pieces of the striking new “spaceshippy” headquarters for Apple in Cupertino. Clark Pacific also has a plant in Woodland.

After the brief chat at the bridge, Ledesma and his informal tour group – men, women, children and babies in trailers – pedaled north on South River Road, heading under the freeway for the rest of their tour.

 

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West Sac readies for new, outdoor venue on riverfront — for farmers market, concerts, beer garden

THE BARN will include an overhead crossing of Garden Street, near the Tower Bridge and Raley Field, as well as indoor facilities.   (City of West Sacramento/artist’s rendering)

THE BARN will include an overhead crossing of Garden Street, near the Tower Bridge and Raley Field, as well as indoor facilities.
(City of West Sacramento/artist’s rendering)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — MAY 21, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

The West Sacramento City Council last week to approve spending about $2.6 million in “capital improvement project” funds toward a project designed to attract visitors to the city’s developing riverfront.

The contribution will help build a $5.6 million outdoor venue called “The Barn,” in conjunction with developer Mark Friedman and his Smart Growth Investors II, LLC. It’s to be built across Garden Street next to the Riverwalk trail along the Sacramento River.

The project is meant to “evoke the agricultural heritage of West Sacramento,” according to a city staff report. It includes a kitchen and meeting space and will also be operated as a beer garden when sufficient foot traffic is expected. It may also host farmers markets, concerts and other events. The facility will be operated by a vendor.

A city plan for its “Bridge District” authorizes up to $19.7 million in “backbone” improvements to Riverwalk, as well as another $46 million that could be spent on shade structures, piers, gardens, art and “distributed recreational elements.”

The city revenue is “derived from Bridge District development,” City Manager Martin Tuttle told the News-Ledger yesterday. It’s not “general fund” money earmarked for uses such as police or fire protection.

The partners plan to have “The Barn” open this October. They’ve booked “The Launch,” a three-day concert last year held in Sacramento, as an opening event.

The land is privately-owned, and the deal approved by the council includes a lease and lease-back arrangement for 30 years.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon abstained from last week’s vote. He told the News-Ledger yesterday that while he had no legal “conflict of interest” to prevent him from voting, he is planning to move to a nearby development in the Bridge District.

“I thought it was better to abstain,” he said.

The other council members present – Mark Johannessen, Chris Ledesma and Bill Kristoff – authorized city staff to finalize and sign the deal for public participation.

 

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West Sac residents take a look at city’s long-term ‘general plan’

At a public workshop Monday evening, Mayor Cabaldon asked West Sacramento residents to ask what they wanted their city to look like in the future.  The city is updating its long-term ‘general plan,’ which has a 20-year horizon. (News-Ledger photo)

At a public workshop Monday evening, Mayor Cabaldon asked West Sacramento residents to ask what they wanted their city to look like in the future. The city is updating its long-term ‘general plan,’ which has a 20-year horizon.
(News-Ledger photo)

FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER — APRIL 30, 2014 —

By Steve Marschke
News-Ledger Editor

About 75 citizens attended a meeting Monday evening to provide input on the West Sacramento’s long-range “general plan,” and to make comments four specific planning projects. Hosted by the city’s planning department, the workshop took place in the community center on West Capitol Avenue.

Several residents asked questions and showed concern about new growth bringing about more traffic problems, and about the city’s level of protection from floods.

Mayor Christopher Cabaldon attended briefly.

“The general plan, as you’ll hear, is one of the most important plans we have in the city,” Cabaldon told the crowd. “It is a long-term plan. It goes to 2035 – but that doesn’t mean nothing is going to happen until July of 2034.”

He asked participants at the workshop to envision the city they want.

“What do you want this place to be like, in value-based terms?,” Cabaldon asked. “What do you want your neighborhoods to be like?”

The mayor himself said the future city ought not to be “all residential suburbs” or “just rural, with horses,” but ought to be combined of different elements, including housing opportunities for the different stages of life.

West Sacramento’s city manager for the past two years is Martin Tuttle, a former executive with the Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG). Tuttle talked to the crowd about the “Blueprint,” a six-county regional guide to future development.

The Blueprint aims to promote transit-oriented development, encouraging compact growth near transportation options and attempting to avoid sprawl into farmlands.

“This community has incredible assets,” said Tuttle of West Sacramento, including “the port area, the riverfront and the emerging downtown area. . . You really are seeing more compact development, more development near transit. When we started ‘Blueprint,’ Sacramento was on its way to 35 miles per day of driving per person. Now it’s around 21 miles.”

David Tilley, the city’s senior planner, explained that the general plan contains a number of distinct elements – most mandated by the state. The plan includes a “preferred land use alternative,” a climate change plan and other elements.

“Our general plan will keep the child care element (in) and also have a ‘healthy communities’ element,” reported Tilley. Cities are required to create a general plan and update it periodically.

He introduced the four specific project areas being shown off at the workshop, inviting residents to look at drawings, chat with staff and leave comments, which staff would try to tabulate afterward.

The “Stone Lock District,” he said, surrounds the barge canal near Jefferson Boulevard, and includes the bluffs known as “Honda Hills” often used by motorcyclists.

“This is roughly 210 acres,” said Tilley. “It could be ripe for a master plan of some sort.”

An earlier plan to jointly develop Stone Lock with the Cordish Company expired during the economic downturn.

“Seaway” includes about 300 acres west of Lowe’s, on Port of West Sacramento property along Southport Parkway. It has been zoned for industrial and business park uses.

“It’s on the table,” Tilley said. “We want to hear what you think is best for the community.”

The “Liberty Specific Plan” is the only one of the four projects with a working developer on board. The acreage is east of the Clarksburg Trail in Southport, between Linden Road to the north and Davis Road to the south. It could hold up to 1,900 residential units.

“This is the last major piece in Southport that’s unentitled,” said Tilley.

Lastly mentioned was “Pioneer Bluffs.”

“This is the area along South River Road south of 15th Street, going down to where it presently dead-ends.”

This stretch is home to “legacy uses,” said Tilley, including the city’s old wastewater treatment plant and industrial uses including petroleum “tank farms.”

“It’s been long-planned to transition to mixed-use, but the question is how do we do that,” said Tilley. “It’s likely to be served by not one, but two new bridges: the South River Road Bridge, and another, perhaps in the area of 15th Street, crossing from Sacramento.”

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Copyright News-Ledger 2014