Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Building a Vibrant Future

Building a Vibrant Future
'Mixed-use village' will help keep Vacaville strong

For a city to remain vibrant and alive in the long run, its very vitality must radiate from its core.

From its center comes a heartbeat by which a city survives or succumbs.

With the CreekWalk, Town Square, the farmers market, a growing number of community events, and businesses hanging in strong in Vacaville's downtown, the city's vitality is plain and its heartbeat is strong.

And the city is working to maintain that strength.

Take, for instance, the effort to eventually develop multiuse buildings near Vacaville's downtown, something that can only add to the downtown's appeal and vigor. The idea behind Opportunity Hill would be to have a "mixed-use village" of commercial and residential development within walking distance of CreekWalk, Town Square, Vacaville's newest library and downtown businesses.

Vacaville residents would have the luxury of living, working, eating, shopping and playing all within a few city blocks, and thus eliminate the need for commuting to jobs far away from home and family.

The city's redevelopment agency is collecting properties just east of downtown that eventually will be home to businesses and people alike. Vacaville's Housing and Redevelopment Commission last week approved the purchase of 10,000 square feet of property on Catherine Street, adding to the growing cluster of publicly owned land in the area.

Opportunity Hill comprises the land south of East Main Street and north of Mason Street between Depot and Davis streets. The hope is to connect the recently redeveloped Davis Street area - which includes Brenden Theatres and the Vacaville Skating Center - to downtown.

The mixed-use idea isn't new. An example of the intermingling of commercial uses and residential units in the area is the Dionicia Building on East Main, where Vasquez Deli takes up the bottom floor while three apartments sit above. Suisun City also has a waterfront development that includes businesses on the ground floors and living spaces above.

City officials believe the demand for living units in such close proximity to downtown's pubs, dining spots, entertainment offerings and shopping would be huge. We agree that the concept, if executed correctly, will continue the downtown area's revitalization, with good economic, social and civic health for years to come.

The challenge, of course, will be attracting a developer to craft a project that will keep the revitalization efforts going strong.

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