Monday, August 30, 2004

Dixon's Revitalized Downtown is Flourishing

Article Published: Monday, August 30, 2004

Dixon's revitalized downtown is beginning to flourish again with shops, restaurants and plans for a new transportation hub. (Rick Roach/The Reporter)

Downtown Dixon's luster returning

By Tom Hall/Staff Writer

The deserted lot at First and A streets in Dixon should be a full-fledged restaurant and retail center by July 2005.

The dilapidated former fire station on North Jackson Street will be home to a dentist, a chiropractor and an Internet service provider in a little over a year.

Bids for the construction of a state-of-the-art transportation hub on North Jefferson Street will go out within a month.

An Oakland developer has purchased 2.5 acres of land at North Jefferson and C streets, with plans for a row of single-family townhouses and a new public library.

Old-fashioned streetlights now line newborn sidewalks and roads throughout the city core, following a massive reconstruction earlier this year.

So, what's left to do in downtown Dixon?

Not much, it would seem. There's the former location of Ace Hardware - dubbed the Dixon Lumber site - at North Jackson and A. There are a few vacant lots in the northern tip of the downtown area, west of the Southern Pacific Railroad line.

Dixon City Manager Warren Salmons said still more redevelopment of existing buildings with tenants who may wish to move out of downtown is possible.

"The potential is great for continuing to do some projects," Salmons said.

The city manager pointed to the area north of the future multi-modal transportation center - which will someday connect Dixon to Sacramento and the Bay Area by commuter rail - as a probable focus for redevelopment in the next few years.

"It's an area that will see activity," Salmons said.

Oakland-based Land Bank Development is in talks with the Dixon Unified School District Library Commission to work out a deal to put a new library just north of the transportation hub's parking lot. Salmons said Land Bank's interest in that part of the city will help get the area revitalized quicker.

"It will certainly encourage more public or private redevelopment over there," the city manager said.

There is one noticeable hole in Dixon's core: the aforementioned Dixon Lumber site, which closely resembles a piece of Nevadan prairie.

The site is owned by the Dixon Redevelopment Agency (the city, for all intents and purposes). Area developer Rob Salaber included the site in his plan to resuscitate the southwest corner of Dixon's downtown, which also called for the reformation of the old fire station to a spot for a restaurant and some retail shops.

Salaber's plan was denied last Tuesday by the city council in favor of a proposal by dentist Kristina Wiley and business owners Seth and Donna Jacobs to turn it into an office building. Salaber said he hasn't decided if his development partnership - Old Dixon Square LLC - would seek to purchase and develop the old lumber yard without the fire station in his control.

Salmons said the redevelopment of the lumber yard is a couple of years off.

"There's no definitive answer about when the lumber site will be done," said the city manager. "There are some conceptual plans out there to turn it into a public plaza, but it's all very early."

Salaber's plan would create 40 parking spaces, eight retail spaces and eight office units. Despite the uncertainty of Salaber's involvement with the site, Councilwoman Yvonne McCluskey has publicly supported the transformation plan, despite voting against Salaber's fire station plan last week.

Last Tuesday, McCluskey said she liked Salaber's design for the lumber site.

Tom Hall can be reached at

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