With Grandmas and Grandpas leading in with “Sentimental Journey,” Folsom City Manager, Kerry Miller began the event by thanking all involved in moving the city’s historic district into the future, while at the same time maintaining its sense of history.
The event was the opening of the Folsom Historic District’s Parking Garage, a landmark event that marks a 21st century “new beginning” for the area, while retaining its historic identity.
Folsom mayor, Eric King thanked everyone, especially the people involved in the many public hearings over the years and who pushed for the aesthetic quality in this project. He said he thought this was “the best looking parking garage I’ve ever seen, in my whole life,” and noted that Fortune magazine, in its ranking of the best places to live in the United States, again put Folsom in the top 25.
Councillor Kerri Howell said although it has taken a long time to get to this point, it is a gorgeous building and praised the community’s spirit. Saying that she was amazed by the number of people turning out to the opening of a “parking lot,” she added “I want to thank all the engineers and architects involved, all the contractor folks … all the people who do the technical stuff.”
Andy Morin suggested that Light Rail commuters who have a 3 hour working day could still park here. He also mentioned several other new project in progress around Folsom. The garage is one of the first big openings, to be followed by the Emergency Room at the Mercy hospital, a new building at the Kaiser Hospital, the Palladio Mall, and around this time next year, the new Folsom Bridge. He said “We’ve got a lot of great things happening in this community.”
Referring to the Folsom community, Morin said “All those things I just mentioned, so many of you here and so many of the folks the City Manager and Mayor already thanked were really instrumental in all those too. So my thanks to all of you here who really put forth to make Folsom a great place to live. … Thanks to all of you who helped make this happen and thanks for showing up today.”
Councillor Jeff Starsky opened with “I think with the number of people here today, is indicative that we might have a parking problem … and I think we’ve gone a long way towards solving that.” Noting that he has lived in Folsom for 23 years, he said “In the entire 23 year period, I remember people fighting councils and community fighting about this area down here. I think what this … structure means is … progress to getting something done to revitalize this area.”
Council members reiterated that “This is not for Light Rail parking. This is for people to come down and spend three hours or less and shop and dine with the merchants on Sutter Street.”
The next speaker was Jim Snook “who makes the best cashew brittle around,” the Folsom Historic District President. Jim thanked the city, saying “it was really great to work with the city, who allowed community members to have some input on this because … we made a lot of suggestions and they really took them seriously and they did what it took to get what we have today – and we really appreciate it.”
Jim made special mention of the four new pedicabs that will add charm and interest to the area, thanking the Folsom Area Bicycle Advocates who will manage them.
Jerry Bernau, developer of the rest of the block, opened with the statement “People talk about pedestrian oriented, transit oriented development throughout the country … people in Portland, Denver, San Diego and downtown Sacramento … well, for everybody’s information, this was the first transit development in the State of California. This town was laid out before the advent of the automobile.” “It is really exciting today to look behind us and see Light Rail and see the rebirth of a pedestrian-oriented transit development.”
Jerry talked about the next buildings to be created on the “Railroad Block,” now known as “Historic Folsom Station,” that will take up 31% of the space, leaving 2.6 acres of open space, a wonderful public plaza. He said “the buildings are going to be essentially furniture in a family room and this is going to be the town’s family room.” There will be Farmers’ Markets and all the events we have become used to seeing in the historic district.
In addition, there is the rail alignment, the depot, a new engine pavilion and if it can be arranged, a beautiful steam engine from the California State Railroad Museum. Plans also include a small amphitheater. Jerry said “Two weeks ago at the Historic District Commission, that Chairman Candy Miller presided over, there was a unanimous approval of the conceptual design for the plaza, including an amphitheater. So there is the opportunity for 300 to 600 people to come out here and watch live theater, jazz, a movie or dance, in a beautifully equipped amphitheater, to bring people down here, not just three times per year, but every Friday and Saturday night.”
There will be lots of opportunities for kids. There will be a Roundhouse, on the foundations of the original roundhouse, called “The Roundhouse Restaurant.”
The “Granite House” building starts in August, with 30 “for sale” lofts and 3 retail units, plus 30 more residential units in other buildings, with a combination of retail, office and residential.
Jerry closed, saying “Clearly we are one of the nicest places to live in the country, because we care about what gets built here.”
Kerry Miller then thanked Sue Ryan from the city, who made all the arrangements for the event, Cappuccino Cruisers, Grandmas and Grandpas Musical Entertainment, the Folsom Railroad Museum, Karen’s Bakery. He also thanked everyone for coming and the ribbon cutting followed.