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A Great Downtown
FY 2017-18 Council Goal: A Great Downtown
For the better part of Roseville’s first hundred years, the downtown cityscape remained constant. But for the past 15 years, changes have been profound, and they continue. Guiding development is the Downtown Specific Plan, the result of a five-year community visioning process, adopted in 2009. In 2010, Roseville City Council formally prioritized a great downtown as one of its goals. Based on the specific plan, the City has completed significant projects this past year and more are underway. The next phase of transformation includes construction of a new fire station, parking garage, bridges over Dry Creek, and the extension of the bike trail. Recently completed were the office building at 316 Vernon Street, the popular Vernon Street Town Square and the roundabout at Washington Boulevard and Oak Street. Before that, Riverside Avenue and Historic Old Town debuted streetscapes, façade improvements, public art, and upgraded electric, water, and wastewater infrastructure.
At its FY2017-18 Council Goals Workshop, the City Council noted that with the completion of these projects, the City’s primary role in downtown transformation—to improve infrastructure in a way that sets the table for private investment—will be accomplished. It is anticipated at that point that the private sector, instead of the City, will take over as the primary driver of additional transformation that occurs downtown. The City will remain engaged, continuing to support and assist private investment in downtown through services and programs.
- 316 Vernon Street Office Building—The four-story, 83,000-square-foot building was completed in December 2016 in less than 12 months and approximately $1 million under budget. The building is home to five City departments and Sierra College, which signed a five-year lease with an additional five-year option for a floor-and-a-half of the building to bring its public-safety academy and community-education programs to Downtown Roseville. Leasing for the 6,000 square feet of ground floor retail is currently under way. Adding a student mix to downtown’s visitors will help support businesses and promote a vibrant atmosphere. Owning the building instead of leasing it reduces the burden on the General Fund, as the construction cost is being repaid through tenant lease payments and low-interest debt repaid by development fees.
- Oak Street Parking Garage—As interest in Downtown Roseville continues to grow, so does the need for additional, convenient parking. The Oak Street Parking Facility, a seven-level, 420+ stall parking garage, is under construction between Vernon and Oak streets, behind the Roseville Theater. The project design includes an architectural style consistent with the Civic Center and a variety of exterior pedestrian improvements designed to enhance the visual and physical connections between the structure and Downtown Roseville. Funding for the garage was provided by redevelopment bond proceeds, public facilities fee, and a low-interest loan that will be repaid by future proceeds from the downtown development-impact fee.
- Fire Station No. 1—Construction for a new fire station broke ground in April 2017 at Oak and Lincoln streets, with funding coming from development-impact fees. The structure currently housing the downtown fire station was purchased by Warwick University in March 2017 with the intent of establishing a graduate-school campus in Roseville’s downtown.
- Pedestrian Bridges and Bike Trails—As envisioned by the Specific Plan, a future development would activate the creek with a mix of office, retail, restaurant, and residential uses, taking advantage of a natural creek and the adjacent citywide park. Three pedestrian bridges are planned to cross Dry Creek to more easily connect downtown with Royer Park and connect the bike trail network through the downtown. Funding for these projects comes from federal, state, and local transportation grants and development-impact fees.
The existing Rube Nelson or "Ice House" Bridge will be lifted from its current location and placed in the Oak Street parking lot to be cleaned and painted. New planking, lighting and fencing will be added, then it will be replaced over Dry Creek at a new angle, landing on the other side of the Veterans Hall. The bike trail ending in Royer Park will be extended across the Ice House Bridge and connect to Oak Street. Due to higher than expected bid results due to an excess of winter repair projects throughout the state, the majority of this work will likely be delayed until the spring of 2018. However, removal of some storage sheds and stream bank grading are still planned for this summer.
The Library Replacement Bridge will be constructed near the downtown Library, also connecting to Royer Park. Similar to the Rube Nelson Bridge, this work will likely be delayed until the spring of 2018.
Extension of the bike trail from downtown to Miner’s Ravine is scheduled for 2017, resulting in a continuous six-mile, off-street trail from Sierra College Boulevard to Downtown Roseville, that will continue through Royer Park and Saugstad Park to Darling Way with the completion of the Rube Nelson Bridge project in 2018. A third, larger pedestrian bridge crossing Dry Creek is planned in the middle of the other two bridges. This bridge promotes two significant concepts of the Specific Plan: creating connectivity between activities on Vernon Street and events in Royer Park, and providing additional event space for an active downtown scene. The width of the bridge will allow for vendors along the side during festivals and events. This bridge is in final design and in need of additional funding before it can be constructed.
- Downtown Programming—The City has expanded programming in the Vernon Street Town Square to include events in the shoulder seasons, such as sing-a-long movie nights and cultural food events; and the City continues to bring new, local bands to the downtown. With about 250 events planned for the year, the City is intent on partnering more with local businesses and organizations to transition operation and programming responsibilities in the future. In March 2017, in partnership with Blue Line Arts and the Downtown Roseville Partnership, the City applied for designation as a California Cultural District through the California Arts Commission. The purpose of the program is to cultivate authentic and sustainable cultural districts that reflect the breadth and diversity of California’s extensive cultural assets.
- Downtown and Historic District Housing—Long a goal of the City, several key projects are underway. With City assistance, construction has begun on Mercy Housing’s 58-unit affordable housing project on Vernon Street. On Pacific Street, St. Anton Partners’ 80-unit affordable housing project in the Historic District continues to be processed. And the 85-unit Main Street Plaza Project has been approved by the City and is working on construction financing. The City has pledged $5.3 million to the Mercy project, $4.7 million to the St. Anton Project, and $2.1 million to the Meta Housing Main Street Plaza Project. All of the pledged funds are derived from housing funds that are restricted solely for the development of affordable housing and similar qualifying activities.
- Downtown Roseville Partnership—In 2014, a Property and Business Improvement District (PBID) was voted on and approved by downtown property owners. This district substantially increases the funds available to market, promote, and improve Downtown Roseville. The PBID, known as the Downtown Roseville Partnership, plays a critical role in growing downtown businesses, attracting new businesses, and encouraging additional business development. The City contributes each year in the form of parcel assessments for City-owned property in Downtown Roseville, with a FY2016-17 assessment of $69,730, subject to an annual increase of up to 3 percent. The Downtown Roseville Partnership has provided year-round illumination of main corridor trees along Vernon Street, installed new street banners and solar-powered BigGulp trash compactors, pressure-washed sidewalks through the district, became the premier sponsor for the return of Downtown Tuesday Night, forged a partnership with Gathering Inn to create a guide/day porter program, contracted for leaf removal from parking bays, partnered with the RCDC and Advantage Roseville to install window clings on vacant storefronts, created an events calendar and business directory which is available on the recently launched Godowntownroseville.com.
- Enhancing Rail Service between Roseville and Sacramento — The City continues to work with Capitol Corridor Joint Powers Authority to bring additional rail service to Roseville. Over the next year, the City will be evaluating parking and circulation needs within the Historic Old Town and will be bringing forward a memorandum of understanding to support the future addition of two more roundtrips from Roseville to Sacramento—bringing the total to three roundtrips daily. This will be the first phase of this project with the ultimate goal to establish 10 daily roundtrips. It is anticipated that the first phase will be instituted within the next three to five years.