The city will be moving forward with the Old Town street improvements funding by a federal grant through CalTrans. The $2.8-million project will bring landscaping, streetlights and streetscaping along Fourth Street and improve parking down C Street between Fourth and Lincoln Way, according to City Utilities Manager Mark Clarkson. The city had $800,000 set aside for the project, and the grant is for $2 million.
“This has been in the planning stage for over five years,” said Clarkson. “When Governor Brown threw out redevelopment, everything was in chaos.” Clarkson said bids will open in a few weeks, and an issue of notice to proceed will happen in November.
Amie Mendez, the city’s economic development manger, said the improvements will attract new business to the area.
“Our hope is to create an inviting area where people want to spend time, walk around and enjoy the shops and restaurants in Old Town,” she said. “We have some work to do in order to attract new businesses and restaurants into the downtown core, but these improvements are definitely a step in the right direction. Our focus moving forward will be to engage existing business and property owners to develop a broader vision for the future of Old Town and, hopefully, devise a plan to achieve that vision.”
Plans also include a centerpiece for Lincoln Way and C Street that will have a pedestal rendering of the Galt Water Tower. Currently on Fourth Street, there are only sidewalks on the east side of the street. Improvements will include sidewalks, lighting and landscaping on the west side adjacent to the park. Parking in Old Town down C Street will be reconfigured to improve and increase parking, according to Clarkson. Mendez said all the improvements will be beneficial to businesses and shoppers.
“These improvements will bring needed connectivity to Lincoln Way, C Street and Fourth Street,” said Mendez. “The appearance of city’s downtown plays a big part in attracting new tenants.”
Impact on business during construction should be minimal, according to Mendez.
“The city will make every effort to ensure that business owners are aware of the construction activity that will be occurring near their storefronts,” said Mendez. “Pedestrians will still have access to the businesses; however, traffic and parking may be impacted for short periods of time during construction in certain areas. Fourth Street should see less of an impact, considering only the west side of the street is being impacted. In the end, I am confident that the merchants will be pleased with the improvements occurring on Fourth & C streets and will likely see it as a benefit to their business in the long run.”