Park Marina Drive is Redding’s Salvation

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Are you concerned about Redding’s future? Do you want more job opportunities and a better quality of life? If so, look no further than Park Marina Drive.

Right now, the Park Marina Drive riverfront features many shuttered businesses and empty lots.


The Polynesian-style buildings once looked sharp, but are now a dated strip mall. Aqua Golf is the only business that uses the opportunities of the riverfront location.


Couldn’t there be a mix of retail and office with some restaurants and open space? Couldn’t there be a place where a grandfather and the grand kids could buy an ice cream cone and feed the ducks and geese? Couldn’t there be a place where a younger couple could drink and dance?

Redding has so much to offer to big city people who want to experience the outdoors. Let’s say a family from Sacramento drives up for a three-day weekend. Let’s say they spend Saturday at Whiskeytown Lake and Sunday at Lassen Peak. But what do they do at night, after they’ve returned from those places? Do they hang out at the hotel pool and listen to the traffic on Hilltop Drive?

Redding could become a destination city if it had a beautiful and unique riverfront, a place to unwind after a hard day of fun.

How do we get there? Much of the land along Park Marina Drive is leased, and many of those leases are coming up in a few years. The business opportunities are so great; something will happen. Much of the land along Park Marina Drive is owned by the Kutras family. This family has been beat up by everyone telling them what they should do.

Could we restart the conversation? Could we get everyone around a table: the land owners, people with money to invest, people with experience in successful development and, yes, the Redding City Council.

The river itself is public property. This section of the riverfront is private property. If developed with a long view, the property owners could become wealthy public benefactors.


The river’s beauty could become an enduring benefit for all.

Steve Woodrum lives in Redding. 

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22 Responses

  1. Avatar Debra Atlas says:

    Well said Steve .


    When Mike Warren was City Manager, he attempted to get all the parties together for this discussion  But unfortunately nothing came of it.

    Could the time be right now? I believe it would require a real commitment on all sides to put agendas aside and work towards a vision of what would best contribute to the enrichment if the community, working to bring something unique to Redding to make this dream a reality.

    But wouldn’t that be amazing if they could pull it off?

  2. Frank Treadway Frank Treadway says:

    Park Marina Drive, winding its way along the Sacramento River, is indeed a special place within the City of Redding. The author is correct, the particular entities do need to come together again, as they have in the past, and begin public forums on the usage of this prime land.  I envision a public walkway, connecting to other trails, and very little entrepreunership.  Kiosks yes, restaurants no.  We have the view from the east side of the river with homes and restaurant. The west side is pristine with wildlife, flora and fauna, something most cities don’t have in their midst.  For those architects just waiting to submit plans to whatever group, keep it simple. Redding needs open space, we’ll never regret it for our future. Besides, Park Marina area is in a 100 year flood zone, keep that in mind.

  3. Avatar cheyenne says:

    Isn’t the raft rental business still there?  We used to love renting a raft and put our ice chest in and float down to Anderson River Park.  It was a great family outing.

  4. Randall R. Smith Randall R. Smith says:

    Not wanting to cast aspersions at the long departed, it is nonetheless important to begin any meaningful examination of the future by remembering the past.  Exactly why the valuable core of Redding’s riverfront has been tied in a legal knot for fifty years is very easy to recall and share.  What happens next will be as difficult as the holding pattern all have endured for half a century.  Hopefully, vision and humility will prevail so that priceless property is protected for the public of future generations.

  5. Avatar trek says:

    Steve, your kind of contradicting yourself just a tad bit. Lets start with, “This family has been beat up by everyone telling them what they should do.” Well, here we go again same scenario different verse by someone whom doesn’t own the property but wants to develop it for everyone. Not a bad concept but the problem is someone does own it and maybe they are doing what they feel is in or was their best interest at the time. Fast forward in time when the owners do decide to let go of their beloved property I hope they gift it back to a natural state of living it once was before developers screwed it up, think Central Park NYC.

    • Avatar Steve Woodrum says:

      Hi Trek   My description resembles what the Kutras family has advocated. I’m not forcing my own vision onto them. I’m am calling for a conversation about this property. The current situation is going down hill. In a few years, the city could call it a blighted area if nothing is done. Once the leases are up, the pressure to develop will be tremendous. Look at the comments on this page to see the public interest. Private property can be developed by the owners. OK but the plans have to pass city planning department. On a riverfront  property of this size, that proposal will be complex and subject to many challenges. A savvy and well funded group could tie up the development for years. OR interested parties could talk about common interests. Times have changed and new faces sit at the table with the Kutras family. A plan is developed where the Kutras become wealthy and respected and the riverfront becomes an economic engine for the entire city. This sails through the planning department and everyone benefits. Isn’t this worth a shot?

  6. Avatar Karen C says:

    My husband and I, when traveling in our RV, would often stop in smaller towns to explore the riverfront walks.  Small places where one could get an ice cream cone or a cup of coffee, and sit outside to watch the bird life and the folks out on the water.  Park Marina should become a public place for all to enjoy all year long.  Very often, I pick up lunch and drive over to Park Marina and park in the area where the ducks wander, no matter how stressed I was, left with a smile on my face.  We have lived here for 53 years and visited every summer weekend for four years prior to that.  We are still waiting for something to happen on Park Marina.


    Please remember that those of us who live here do not want to see it closed off to dental offices, attorney’s offices or any other place that prevents the public from enjoying our priceless natural resource.

  7. Avatar Laurie says:

    From the day I moved here from San Diego back in the early 80s, I’ve thought the Park Marina area along the river was a total waste of a fabulous opportunity to have a wonderful riverfront development. Other cities have made great use of their beautiful riverfronts in town, and I see ours and just want to cry.

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I have only a vague understanding of why the property owners have long dug in their heels and rejected the idea of making Park Marina something special for Redding. As near as I can tell, the attitude has been, “Screw you, it’s ours.” When push comes to shove, that philosophy has always played well in conservative Redding over the years.  I’m not sure that’s going to be the case five years from now.

    The current property owners have the opportunity to create a legacy like no other—something that would ensure they’d be remembered favorably and fondly by Reddingites into the distant future.  Sadly—to Redding’s great loss—they seem far more interested in holding the power position for as long as they can and maintain control of the Sacramento River waterfront, just for the sake of control.

    You have to hand it to the people who originally acquired that riverfront land and passed it down—they had vision. The people who inherited it……maybe more obstinate than visionary.

    A shame.  Such a drag on Redding’s future.

    • Avatar Jerry says:

      Kutras Park Marina Plan, highly recommended reading, for the most recent 15 to 20 history of the location.  Perhaps a re-read would help understand the impasse.  Cal Poly SLO students have done the work, the design, color renderings, scale plans, etc.  This was published in the local newspaper.  A local entity had a few leases on some of the property.  The entity gave lip service to the whole plan, while quietly killing the plan behind the scene.  Why?  Ask the ego that runs the organization.  One man killed off the Kutras Park Marina Plan.  The whole thing was spelled out in detail by the local newspaper, a little research will yield answers to those questions and possible more.  Please read the Kutras Park Marina Plan, the pdf black and white version stops short of the final decision.  A color version on the net explains why the plan did not go forward.


      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        Do you have a link to the “Kutras Park Marina Plan?”
        “They [the Kutras Family] support a plan drawn up earlier this year [2005] by urban planning students at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo that envisions a mix of trails, open space, parks, hotels, restaurants and other amenities.”
        Perhaps, just perhaps, the City of Redding, that seems to think the residents of Redding work FOR them, instead of realizing THEY work for the citizens of Redding, should make sure they consult with the owners of properties they plan, or want to, develop!

      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        Maybe I’m being thick, but between Steve Woodrum’s article above, Jerry and K. Beck’s comments, and Marc Beauchamp’s blog post, I can’t make heads or tails out of who commissioned the Cal Poly conceptual plan, and who wanted it killed.  Clearly, Mike Warren asked Lee Salter to put The McConnell Foundation’s noodling on the future of Park Marina to paper.  Clearly, TMF developed some boards to flesh out their ideas.  Clearly, the Kutras kids were inited to a meeting where—surprise!—TMF’s plans were revealed.

        Are the boards developed by TMF that cheesed off the Kutras clan the plans that were developed by Cal Poly?  Or were they an alternative set of plans?

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          I just typed in “Kutras Park Marina Plan” the first link says “pdf Park Marina Area Concept Plan – DigitalCommons@CalPoly” with a whole page of links, along with photos. Something on that page should help!

  9. Avatar Diane says:

    Does anyone remember Garcia’s?  We used to sit on the deck for dinner and our kids would go to the river’s edge to converse with the geese and ducks.  Occasionally we would go to the Oarlock to dance.  Unfortunately, both of those restaurants would flood every winter.

  10. A. Jacoby A. Jacoby says:

    I love Park Marina. I drive it every chance I get. Every time I drive that route my mind gets side tracked with fantasies about what might have been and/or what could be. I realize the much of it is private property. I realize that there are egos and personalities to deal with. I also realize that I will probably never live long enough to see our most precious natural resource developed . . . but, ah . . . it makes a great fantasy.

  11. Avatar Royal Burnett says:

    Look at San Antonio, Texas and other towns that have developed their riverfronts with nice businesses, restaurants and tourist attractions. Its time to stop fussing around with the downtown mall and put a lot our efforts into something we can all use and be proud of.  How about a nice long scenic route that extends from Turtle Bay to the Library, with parks, cafes, shops and tourist attractions ?

  12. Avatar Karen C says:

    I could be all wrong about this, however I seem to recall that the Kutras family wanted a common area in which the public could enjoy boutiques,   outdoor eating, small locally owned shops with higher end product, and places to stop and rest along the river, with a strolling trail.  I believe the City had other ideas leaning towards places that would produce the a higher tax return and would also block public usage.  That area has been used by locals in Redding for many years and should be enhanced with what the public wants.  If I owned the property, I would be doing the same thing…hanging tightly to my beloved property until someone with some sense comes into the picture to make it happen.

  13. Avatar Barb says:

    This conversation makes my head explode.  This is privately owned land.  We can all have opinions, but none of them matter!  The Kutras family has made it abundantly clear they want no intrusion into their legacy.   Its a waste of time and dialog when people with zero ownership interest start saying what SHOULD be done.

    Do any of you think the Kutras Family have no idea how valuable a resource their land is?  They know what they own and they have simply refused to be told what to do.  I feel like they are saying to ALL of us, “We own it.  Its ours.  We will decide if and when we develop or do any anything with it.”  Its been pretty clear…..

  14. Avatar Barb says:

    Better said by the family then by me!

    “We know the property very well. It’s been studied by us, by the city,” said Chris Kutras. “It all comes down to it’s between us and the city.”

  15. Avatar Russell K. Hunt says:

    Kutras and McConnell have come to a deal. Next week. Retail office development.