Greetings folks! It's time for another Citizens Advisory Committee meeting update. Aside from being an information-packed meeting, several interesting things happened. Again, it was a very packed meeting.
A. AAA BASEBALL STADIUM
Site work continues, relocating utilities, performing environmental work, getting ready to demo Fire Station #1 very soon. Lots of permit pulling happening. Site excavation begins in June and so far on-schedule.
B. ENTERTAINMENT CORE RETAIL
This part of the baseball project is very active as well. They are in the midst of working on a series of Starbond Districts in various stages of contemplation for several areas, including the baseball district, the area around Montage (which probably includes the trench cover) and possibly Grand Sierra Resort as well.
C. DOWNTOWN PARKING
As reported before the city is in direct talks with a downtown private entity and they are working with underwriter to firm up numbers with the deal with this potential downtown partner. I still think it's the Eldorado, but that's purely a guess based on the general area parking garage #1 is being eyed for.
D. BEAUTIFICATION -
Virginia Street Gateway Project - This will go in the general area/lot that the Savoy Motel was once located on downtown, just off the freeway. They have an artist in mind, and will go to the council on 5/28 to approve hiring design consultant. At that point the project will enter the public meeting process to gain public input on the art.
Façade Improvement Program - RDA met with the HIstoric Resources Commission, and this project seems to be going in the direction of fully restoring the buildings on Virginia Street from 2nd to Commercial Row/Plaza Street back to their original luster. The City will now go back to the HRC and go through the costs involved with pursuing this route. I really hope the historic path is followed, it would add some much needed punch to downtown with a small-town feel still.
Virginia Street Lighting - The City is now looking to extend new lighting from Ryland to Peckham, except this time allowing for more lighting standard options to businesses on Virginia Street. They learned a lesson with the pilot program that not all people liked the style of lighting chosen just for the tiny pilot test area. While I agree that businesses should have some kind of say, if you let too many hands in the cookie jar the project will suffer significant delays as businesses fight over what style is best for the street.
Public Art - The last public art project this fiscal year is a significant improving of the exterior of the ground level of City Hall, which includes increased signs, artwork and flowers.
E. 10 NORTH VIRGINIA STREET
New designs are in from the developer this week. Mark Lewis says he likes the new design, and feels it will please the Council much more than previous designs. Hope to move project back to council in June. Concept is LEED and green and includes solar panels. They are firming up arrangements with a 'major lake restaurant this week' which I am guessing is Garwoods. Kudos to the developer for not just giving up when the 10 North Virginia project seemed to be in real jeopardy.
F. URBAN MARKET - Great line up of tenants. Uggh Mark STILL didn't announce the lineup, but promised to release them to the council on the 14th of May with a little fanfare and flair involved of some kind. The lineup of tenants, according to Lewis will 'knock everybody's socks off.' We're looking at a July opening with a Wednesday Ecomarket and Friday artisan market and Saturday traditional farmer's market. On those days, the east lane of West Street will be closed so the market can spill out onto it. The full Indoor/Outdoor market will open in September. They put out to bid for the permanent improvements this week. Lewis mentioned very unique aspects of the market will be changing each week, keeping it fresh and lively. For example there will be a performance kitchen, cooking lessons, maybe cooking competitions similar to Iron Chef, etc, changing every week.
V. UPDATE ON THE DOWNTOWN BRIDGES AND THE BRIDGE VISIONING PROJECT.
Workshops 1 and 2 are completed. There are 4 basic levels of flood protection being looked at for downtown in particular;
4 scenarios of flood protection
Scenario 1 - 50-year floor protection - would allow to keep Center Street Bridge.
Scenario 2 - 74 year Flood - 2005 year flood event. This is what we have currently when no clogs the bridges during floods. Bridge replacements would include Center Street but no additional flood walls rising. This is the option the public has been honing in on. Would require 4 bridge replacements but the banks wouldn’t need to be raised.
Scenario 3 - 100-year flood protection - local criteria - With this option the City dictates it's own 100-year-flood criteria rather than having the Corps tell us what we have to do. This is the other option favored, because bridges would have to be 2 to 3 feet higher.
Scenario 4 - USACE 100-year flood - Bridges would have to be 6 feet higher than they are now. The public was not happy with this option.
City engineers also determined through the public workshops that the Truckee
River is very important feature to downtown, Aesthetics are critically important to incorporate into any new bridges.
So at this point, the City is pursuing the 75 year flood and the 100-year City-dictated flood plans. It was determined the 100-year Corps Flood Plan would disrupt too many private parcels, and would forever change the landscape of downtown, possibly not for the better.
So at this point, city engineers are determining function of infrastructure along the river, determining appropriate design options to present to the public and City Council, etc. Virginia Street would be replaced first, then the next worse case bridge which is Lake Street.
VII. UPDATE ON THE LEAR THEATER
Dan from Lear Theater - The LEar Theater group is in the midst of negotiating for tax credits plus final drawings approved by Shippo (I have no idea what that is) and the National Parks Service….groundbreaking on Lear Theater by 2009. Planned utilization will be multi-use facility, with flexible space.