Redding Moves Ahead on a Pair of Downtown Projects, Names an Interim Police Chief and Rebuts a Stinging Stillwater Report

Public safety, downtown Redding’s future, the moribund Stillwater Business Park and a junior bike park in Caldwell Park were the topics of interest at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Downtown

The council made a pair of related moves: it voted unanimously to OK a $4.8 million loan to the group redeveloping the old Dicker’s department store into a four-story mixed-use project and it voted 4-0 to accept the “preferred alternative” in the Downtown Redding Specific Plan update.

Mayor Brent Weaver, a downtown Redding property owner, recused himself from both votes.

Dicker’s was one of the anchors of the now-defunct downtown mall and it’s now ground zero for an ambitious plan that promises to transform downtown Redding. K2 Land & Investments bought the 60,000-square-foot former store and last year unveiled its plans to demolish it and replace it with an E-shaped building that would feature retail and office space on the ground floor and 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom apartments on the top three floors.

Some 56 of the project’s 79 units would be classified as affordable housing and the remainder would be market-rate. The project would also reopen Market, Butte and Yuba streets to vehicle traffic. The redesigned 80-foot-wide streets would be showcases of contemporary urban planning with defined pedestrian corridors, shade trees, bike parking areas and room for sidewalk seating and parklets.

K2, in partnership with the Shasta Regional Transportation Planning Agency, applied for and was awarded a $20 million state grant through the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities program. The grant includes funding for the Diestlehorst-to-Downtown trail project that is expected to attract more pedestrian and bicycle traffic in the downtown area.

Redding’s $4.8 million loan will be funded by a combination of federal housing dollars, according to Steve Bade, Redding’s housing and redevelopment manager.

The total cost of the project is estimated at $37.5 million.

Updating of the Downtown Redding Specific Plan started last October and Bruce Brubaker with PlaceWorks, the consultant hired to draft the plan, said the project is about 75 percent complete. When completed and adopted by the council, the plan will serve as a blueprint of sorts to guide development and revitalization efforts for the next 10 to 15 years.

Bruce Brubaker of PlaceWorks with the preferred alternative for the Downtown Redding Specific Plan.

Bruce Brubaker of PlaceWorks with the preferred alternative for the Downtown Redding Specific Plan. Photos by Jon Lewis.

The preferred alternative, created with input gathered at stakeholder meetings and an online survey that was completed by more than 1,900 residents, calls for a public town plaza and several smaller open spaces with appropriate lighting, seating and other amenities.

The plan also emphasizes improvements to the pedestrian environment in the downtown area and land use and urban design visions highlighted by mixed-use developments that blend residential, office, retail, dining, cultural and entertainment uses.

“I’m pretty excited about the direction the city of Redding is going,” said Anne Thomas, director of Shasta Living Streets. “This plan builds on the assets we have downtown and addresses safety,” she added, noting that a recent six-year study indicates that out of California’s 58 counties, Shasta is ranked sixth in the number of pedestrian fatalities. “This plan will help us address that,” she said.

Public Safety

On the public safety front, the council voted 5-0 to appoint Peter Hansen as the interim police chief. Hansen, who retired as police chief in November 2011 to end a 28-year career, returns in his official capacity on Wednesday.

Hansen’s interim term will last until Nov. 19 at the latest. He will be paid $13,166 a month, which matches what his salary was when he retired, according to Sheri DeMaagd, Redding’s personnel director.

Hansen replaces Robert Paoletti, who “separated from employment” on June 13, DeMaagd said. Paoletti had been police chief since Hansen’s retirement. Paoletti’s departure came a week after Barry Tippin was promoted from his assistant city manager position to fill retired City Manager Kurt Starman’s position. In a press release, Tippin said Redding was at a point in time where “we need to find a new pathway to work on the public safety issues we are facing as a community.”

The interim appointment will take some strain off of an “already lean-staffed department,” DeMaagd said.

The recruitment for a permanent chief closed Sunday, Tippin said, and he expects a new chief to be named by the end of November if not sooner. Police Capt. Eric Wallace had been serving as acting police chief.

Stillwater

The council OK’d a formal response to the Shasta County Grand Jury’s withering report which was titled “Stillwater Business Park – Still Spending; Still Waiting.”

The 14-page Grand Jury report questioned the ongoing expense–$40 million and climbing—and the lack of any jobs or industry to show for it in the last seven years. The report recommended the city formally investigate whether the 700-acre park is even viable and to come up with other uses for the property.

Grand jurors contend proceeds from lot sales be used exclusively to cover Stillwater’s debts and that a formal protocol be developed to guide all sales decisions. The latter is apparently a reference to Emerald Kingdom, a greenhouse manufacturer whose bid for a Stillwater parcel was rejected. The Redding company opted instead to relocate to Red Bluff.

Mayor Weaver’s letter, which was approved with a 5-0 vote, questions the grand jury’s cost estimate and defends the city’s ongoing marketing efforts.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Councilwoman Julie Winter, who is the council’s liaison to the Shasta County Economic Development Corporation (EDC), said that although “we haven’t landed that big fish yet, I believe we will.”

Winter and Weaver both said the city, the EDC, Development Services Director Larry Vaupel and Tippin enjoy a solid working relationship and one that will bear fruit soon. “We have a great team,” Weaver said, while adding that the council is acutely aware of the pressure the $650,000 annual interest payments are placing on the city.

Pat Corey, chair of the EDC board, said the city just missed on a potential buyer that would have brought as many as 4,000 jobs to the city. He said the level of interest in Stillwater over the past 30 months has been the highest ever.

Junior Bike Park

The council enthusiastically supported a plan by the Redding Trail Alliance to develop and maintain a junior bike park on the east side of Caldwell Park near the Redding Aquatic Center and Jump River Playground.

Nate Knudsen, president of the Redding Trail Alliance, said the bike park will be designed for cyclists between 2 and 12 years of age and will feature a paved pump track, a skills feature and a bike “playground” with mock streets and intersections that will provide the young bike riders with education and safety skills.

Nate Knudsen points out features of the Junior Bike Park.

Nate Knudsen points out features of the Junior Bike Park.

A “dirt jump line” made up of small tabletop-style jumps will allow the thrill seekers to get a little bit of air.

Travis Menne with the Community Services Department said the bike park will be landscaped, use sustainable building materials and will not require the removal of any trees.

“I’m very excited about this project,” Weaver said. “This will make it an area that you’ll want to go to after this project gets going.”

Jon Lewis
Jon Lewis is a freelance writer living in Redding. He has more than 30 years experience writing for newspapers and magazines. Contact him at jonpaullewis@gmail.com.
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31 Responses

  1. Randall R Smith says:

    It’s always darkest before the dawn.  Like the Sundial Bridge, Stillwater Business Park will be soon looked up upon as a wonderful blessing for our village.  Those who doubted its vision and argued about its worth will not be easy then to find.  The recent failure cited was enough to fill all of the land and it went south because of California’s difficult business climate, nothing to do with Stillwater.  Please keep faith.

    • Dick says:

      What exactly are you predicting to happen to make California’s business climate less difficult? Lower taxes? Fewer regulations? Lower energy costs?

      • Anita Lynn Brady says:

        Randy is in his own bubble of positive and hasn’t come out for a while. With the City Council that originally built this financial boondoggle not having to face any consequences, there is little incentive at this point to keep pouring bucks into this place.

        PS, Dick: Business in CA is not the issue. I have been in Roseville for the last week, and business and industrial parks are getting built so fast, it is unbelievable. The climate you describe is not evident here. And the new HUGE Amazon warehouse by the Sac. Airport is something to behold.

  2. K. Beck says:

    Isn’t Red Bluff in CA? I don’t understand that comment.

    • Richard Christoph says:

      K. Beck-

      I believe Dr. Smith was referring to :

      “Pat Corey, chair of the EDC board, said the city just missed on a potential buyer that would have brought as many as 4,000 jobs to the city,”

      and not to the loss of Emerald Kingdom to Red Bluff.

       

      • K. Beck says:

        I was referring to this comment:

        “The recent failure cited was enough to fill all of the land and it went south because of California’s difficult business climate, nothing to do with Stillwater.”

  3. K. Beck says:

    “The project would also reopen Market, Butte and Yuba streets to vehicle traffic.”

    FINALLY!!! Could they put those streets in FIRST!!!?

  4. conservative says:

    The businesses that were envisioned for Stillwater went to Northern Nevada, Redding’s competitor .  The world’s largest data center under construction (Switch), the Ebay Data Center, the Apple campus, Google’s recent purchase are all solar powered.

    Over 100 companies have bought in the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center.  Warehouses, fulfilment centers,   Manufacturers.  For a list see

    http://tahoereno.com/clients/

    The tax reform being debated in the House includes ending the deduction for state and local taxes (SALT).  Capital flight from high tax states like CA to low tax states like NV will surely accelerate.

    • cheyenne says:

      The World Famous Mustang Ranch?  I don’t think that would work in Stillwater.

    • Catherine says:

      And what does Reno have that Redding doesn’t?  A real University providing a deep job candidate pool.  The Redding City Council still has their heads in the sand after all these years.

  5. Truthismessy says:

    Redding’s business climate would have been much better served by putting Stillwater’s $59 million toward a new jail.  37% of those arrested by RPD will be arrested at least 5 times in a year!  Redding’s catch & release program is a national joke: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2017/04/25/out-jail-one-day-and-arrested-next/100884142/

    I personally know former Redding businessmen who abruptly cancelled plans to return upon witnessing downtown’s crime firsthand.  Just last month, Angelo’s Pizza closed its doors after 42 years, citing crime:  http://www.redding.com/story/news/local/2017/06/23/angelos-pizza-closing-after-42-years/419784001/

    Redding’s current efforts at beautification are akin to a having a mortician spruce up a hemorrhaging patient because the hospital is unwilling to hire sufficient doctors.

    • Damon Miller says:

      I can close my business and cite any reason but that doesn’t mean it’s true.

      • Truthismessy says:

        True, but when multiple businesses which have otherwise been successful all say the same thing, it’s probably time to do something:

        http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/shasta/razzlicious-location-closes-for-safety-concerns/525642441

        Now if you look at the google/yelp reviews for Razzlicious, they are almost universally positive except for the one location they closed on Lake Blvd.  And the negative reviews didn’t talk about transients, they talked about poor customer service, dirty bathroom, limited selection, etc.  So on the surface, it might seem that blaming nearby crime is just and excuse.  But when you find out that they had trouble finding and retaining good employees, and the problem was limited to that one location, you might start thinking that a workforce primarily comprised of school-aged girls probably wouldn’t enjoy working where armed robberies, vandalism, and drug use are commonplace.

        But hey, that Sundial sure looks nice in the rear view mirror.

        • Beverly Stafford says:

          This is a comment for Truthismessy regarding Razzliocious, but frequently when there are other replies, a comment appears below the last reply.  I patronized Razzlicious once, the one on Dana, and found it lacking.  The chocolate yogurt was cold and sweet, but I couldn’t tell it was chocolate.  Saw no reason to try a second time when Cookies and Yogurt on Hartnell is so good.

        • Damon Miller says:

          We were talking about Angelo’s, though:

          “AVOID THIS PLACE. This pizza is not good, the staff is rude…” 5/31/17

          “I took my daughters to have the buffet Friday night (St. Patrick’s Day) and it was AWFUL! ” 3/8/17

          [rambling review about how they refused bathroom access to a pregnant lady who wasn’t ordering] 2/1/17

          “…we used to go there a lot i have a lot of good memories there.I am extremely disappointed  in the new owners.” 1/21/17

          “Unfortunately the pizza was marginal at best…” 5/9/16

          etc

          • Truthismessy says:

            Here are the 10 most recent reviews on Google (all less than 6 months old):

            5 stars out of 5, 4 stars, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 5, 1, & 5  (average: 4.2/5)

            Yes, the frequency of negative reviews had been increasing over the last year, but overall reviews were still above average for Redding. And the decline was probably commensurate with the change in owner/employee morale one would expect dealing with increasing crime/vandalism/filth.

             

            Again, these aren’t isolated complaints.  Another lost business is Quercus Consultants, which in May began moving from Redding to Palo Cedro after the 4th vehicle break-ins in 6 months.

      • Truthismessy says:

        Catch & Release…

        Booked in the afternoon, released at 7pm, arrested on new charges at 8pm:  https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1371242512959105&substory_index=0&id=179485398801495&__tn__=%2As%2As-R

  6. Dick says:

    Is the Weaver Stillwater letter going to be made public?

  7. Alice Bell says:

    The Mayor’s response was already available on COR’s website prior to the City Council meeting at this website:

    http://reddingcityca.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=1&ID=2371&Inline=True

    You’ll need to go to pages 283-288 to see the staff report and letter.

    The City Council voted to make some changes to a couple of the responses. You would need to watch the video to find out what those were or check the Grand Jury’s website (reports and responses). It takes some time for them to be posted online.

  8. James Montgomery James Montgomery says:

    Stillwater “Business” Park is a boondoggle. Discouraging a greenhouse-maker is clear proof that the City Council is not serious about doing business, there. Maybe it is time to quit throwing good money after bad.

  9. Common Sense says:

    Jon Lewis, excellent work as Always!

    To Randall….I hope you are right!….I hope that Stillwater Fills out and that many companies come in and many jobs are created! Why they haven’t called the bonds and re issued at the lower rates is beyond me….

    So what was the “Secret” 4000 jobs company that we missed out on?…..

    We have a Partial Solution to the City’s Money problems….and they “Just” started talking about it…..time will tell if they actually stretch their minds a bit and actually allow in the hundreds of jobs and tax money companies….

    Stillwater makes a lot of sense for the Cannabis Companies to go in there……It’s away from the Churches….the Schools….the Subdivisions…..there is only one house there along the road in Stillwater…..a perfect spot….

    Many other Cities are embracing the jobs created and tax revenues….

  10. Common Sense says:

    The Still Waiting Park-

    F6. The Redding City Council has no comprehensive, objective method, other than design elements, by which to guide its decisions on sales at Stillwater Business Park, contributing to lost time and money for both the City and potential buyers during sales negotiations. Response: The respondent disagrees in part with the finding. While there is no “litmus test” of criteria by which a potential buyer must meet beyond those in the entitlement process, overriding objectives exist: Job creation and economic investment in the community. Stillwater Business Park was created for the single purpose of enhancing the local economy. As no two prospective buyers are the same, selection of those that are the “best fit” involves negotiation and flexibility. The finite space in Stillwater requires that sales be thoughtful and with an eye toward future long-term benefits. To make such decisions by rote could reduce time involved but could prove more costly in the long term.

    So my the Mayors Own Response to the Grand Jury Report….the Park was Built to Bring companies in that will Provide JOBS and to Enhance the Local Economy! So when Companies want to go in there and Provide Jobs and Enhance the Local Economy…..you had Better not Run them off Regardless of what your personal or religious preferences are!

    With an “Eye towards future Long Term Benefits,” it makes sense to put companies in there that will be going year after year after year…..and in the case of Cannabis Businesses….it’s apparent that this is the case….if they are not taxed to death!….. California is going to have a 7 Billion Dollar Market first year……the question is…..is Redding going to get any of that?

    There will be NO Grants and No Tax money to Redding or Shasta County from the State if they say NO….none!

    Saying NO…has never been More Expensive!

    So Mr. Weaver…what exactly does BEST FIT mean?

    • Marc Carter says:

      I’m afraid it doesn’t best fit with almighty Bethel thinking, at this point. They didn’t offer a half million bribe… ahh,  donation to COR to see evil cannabis industries come into town.  That’s not exactly a part of their agenda.

  11. cheyenne says:

    In the Denver Post today the recreation show that has been in Salt Lake City is moving to Denver with a $4 million grant from Colorado.  Also the article stated Denver has offered $27 million to two SF bay area businesses, one a financial lender and the other a recreation company, to move to Denver bringing 1500 jobs.  That is the kind of competition that any area is faced with in bringing business in.

  12. Truthismessy says:

    Thanks Alice.

    An attitude like this is why Measure D failed:

    Grand Jury Recommendation #5:  By September  30, 2017,  the Redding  City  Council  establish a  policy  directing  funds received from any  future parcel  sales  be  utilized only  for  Stillwater  Business  Park  debt  repayment  or infrastructure.   

    Mayor’s Response:  The  recommendation will  not  be implemented.  The City  Council  has  the prerogative to direct  parcel-sale  revenue  to be used for  General  Fund  needs,  including  Stillwater  Business  Park debt  repayment  or  infrastructure. Binding  Council  decisions by  policy  would limit  flexibility  and could  prevent  such funds being  used  for  higher-priority  needs at  any  given time.  

    Translation:  Why repay a loan when we will probably want to spend that money on something else residents haven’t approved?

  13. Debra Atlas says:

    Nice article, Jon. Always like keeping up with what’s happening in Redding.

    Stillwater still empty after so long and so many “near misses”. Amazing to me that the City hasn’t done more to make it a more attractive investment by now. Boondoggle sounds about right.

    As to the Junior Bike Trail, from what I could figure out from the snapshot, it would be in a great location – easy access, plenty of space. Great for kids and parents. Sounds like a win.

    Thanks, Jon, for your great reporting!

  14. Richard DuPertuis says:

    Very good work, Jon. Makes a citizen who has been watching from the sidelines get more involved.

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