Friday, September 08, 2006

Rio Vista Wants to Annex Old Army Center

Rio Vista Wants to Annex Old Army Center
By Barry Eberling

FAIRFIELD - Rio Vista wants to add the 28-acre former U.S. Army Reserve Center to its city limits to eventually become a Delta research station and possibly a recreation center.

The Local Agency Formation Commission oversees annexations. It will consider Rio Vista's request when it meets at 10 a.m. Monday at the county Government Center, 675 Texas St.

The land is located east of Beach Drive and along the Sacramento River, south of existing city limits. For several years, the Bay-Delta Science Consortium expressed interest in establishing a field station there. This association of state and federal agencies, nonprofit groups and universities monitors Delta water quality and does research.

A Delta research center would take up about 10 acres of the site, a LAFCO report said. The center could bring 150 to 200 scientific and technical jobs to Rio Vista - as well as pump millions of dollars annually into the region's economy, it said.

Plus, the center has links with such places as the University of California, Davis, and California State University, Hayward. This in turn could lead to spin-off economic development opportunities, the report said.

Rio Vista is negotiating with the state Department of Water Resources and state Department of Fish and Game over the research center, the report said.

The city has other plans for the site, as well. Possibilities include a city boat launch, park, ball fields, interpretive center and recreation center.

All of this would mean a rebirth for a once-bustling site. The old Army Reserve Center had as many as 250 workers during the 1950s, many of whom lived in the city. The Army used the base until the late 1980s. In 1995, special federal legislation said the site should go to Rio Vista for "public and recreational uses," the report said.

But Rio Vista didn't take ownership of the land until 2003. That delay happened because of toxic material cleanup issues.

LAFCO commissioners are Chairman John Saunderson, Suisun City Mayor Jim Spering, Benicia Mayor Steve Messina, and county Supervisors Duane Kromm and Barbara Kondylis. Alternates are resident Nancy Shopay, Supervisor Mike Reagan and Dixon Mayor Mary Ann Courville.

Reach Barry Eberling at 425-4646 Ext. 232 or at

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