Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Suisun City Wants Lighthouse

May 5, 2004

Suisun City wants lighthouse

By Matthew Bunk

SUISUN CITY -- A project to rejuvinate the west side of Main Street will utilize a throw-back to the old styles that dominated the downtowns of the early part of this century, according to city plans unveiled Tuesday night at a workshop.

Also part of the plan, the city plans to build a 50-foot lighthouse at the head of the harbor to enhance the identity of Suisun City's waterfront. The city has considered spending $500,000 on the lighthouse, said Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering.

The lighthouse could be an icon for Main Street that helps to generate pedestrian traffic in an area of town that has not developed as quickly as city officials would have liked, Spering said.

The city's new vision for a retro atmosphere is based on the goal of creating unique small shops. It builds on the live-work concept of the existing waterfront development that combines retail shops and homes.

The concept would create an uninterrupted row of retail on the ground floor of each downtown block, with one or two stories of residential space directly above, according to plans presented by Roma Design Group.

First the city would build on large parcels of mostly undeveloped land along the marina area of Civic Center Drive. Three distinct land-use options were presented to the public, all calling for a conglomerate of residential and retail development. Two options would leave space for a hotel.

It would be a pilot project to gauge the interest of developers, contentment of residents and financial viability. If successful, the city said it would offer substantial incentives for Main Street business owners to redevelop their properties.

The parcel redevelopment and lighthouse projects could begin within a year, Spering said. It would be the second phase of a city campaign to rejuvinate the central business district and unite two areas of town.

The city will work with private developers to generate funding for a bulk of the project, said Randy Starbuck, Suisun economic development director. He said the city redevelopment agency has enough money to pay for public improvements.

Reach Matthew Bunk at 425-4646 Ext. 267 or mbunk@dailyrepublic.net.

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