Last week during our discussion of the proposed innovation parks, it was brought up that insufficient attention was being paid to other parts of the city’s economic development plan. Last August, the Davis Chamber, Downtown Davis, and Yolo County Visitor’s Bureau put forth a joint list of objectives.
These objectives were developed by the three organizations in joint collaboration. They then came to the city as a unified voice.
We asked the city to provide us with an update on where the ten objectives stand.
The city noted that “this increased collaboration on their part has enabled the City to streamline certain of our communications efforts without sacrificing quality, for example reducing three separate 2×2 meetings each month (one with each organization) to one meeting per month, rotating the organizations each month.”
The city was hoping to have the joint meeting on August 25, but it may end up happening later due to scheduling conflicts and the change in leadership at the Chamber.
The city notes, “We still find challenges on who is taking lead and on realistic expectations about what can be accomplished with existing resources and over a year’s time. That is not to say these objectives are useless – quite the contrary. The objectives can help to focus all of the partners and provide a platform for continued conversations as we do our monthly check-ins.”
Here are the ten objectives with the response from the city provided verbatim.
Objective 1 Entitle the Nishi/Solano Park/Gateway/Downtown as a mixed use, innovation district that would provide space for start-ups and tech businesses, as well as much-needed high-density housing in close proximity to UC Davis and downtown.
The City was awarded nearly $600,000 in grant funds for sustainability planning for the Downtown University Gateway District, including a substantial contribution toward preparing the EIR. Consultant contracts are anticipated by the end of August. All community members are encouraged to join the conversation for the community based planning process at www.NishiGateway.org.
Objective 2 Arts Alliance: Continue to support the creation and formation of a private/public partnership that supports and coordinates local artists and arts organizations, promotes and celebrates the uniqueness of Davis cultural resources and attracts regional, national and global recognition and visitors.
In September, the City Council will be considering a contract with a non-profit agency such as Yolo Arts for identifying the arts district activities, forming and nurturing an Arts Alliance, and related activities. Some of the funding will be from Development Agreement contributions from The Cannery. Other funding sources will need to be identified.
Objective 3 Richards Tunnel Gateway/Welcome Arch: Meet critical deadlines as described by project MOUs. Phase 1 is now currently estimated to be completed by mid-October 2013.
The City has applied for federal TIGER grant funds for design and engineering of the Davis Arch and other improvements to the Richards Boulevard corridor. Decisions on funding awards are anticipated in early 2016. (This project has grown from its original concept, and the timeline for completion has extended with that growth!)
Objective 4 Innovation Park Task Force: Support the completion of the Task Force Recommendations as described in the Council Resolution’s Action Plan in order to provide opportunities for tech, advanced manufacturing and R&D company retention, attraction and growth.
One to three applications for Innovation Centers are anticipated by September 2014. EIR and project management consultant contracts are anticipated by the end of August. In July, the City Council appointed two Councilmembers (Davis, Swanson) to serve on a subcommittee charged with identifying overarching expectations for Innovation Center projects that represent community goals.
Objective 5 Buy Local Davis: Continue to develop and execute a program to shift 10% of community purchasing power to local businesses, with an emphasis on locally owned businesses.
This is an effort of Downtown Davis and Chamber. Downtown Davis has developed an app highlighting Davis businesses and has a logo that implores people shop Davis, as example.
Objective 6 Downtown Parking: Better manage the supply of downtown parking by installing way-finding sings and accurately determining daily peak utilization of existing parking capacity. Support an action plan that will increase the supply of parking in Downtown Davis.
In late 2013, the City Council “accepted” the report of the Downtown Parking Task Force but has not taken any specific actions for implementation. This item will return to the City Council for additional discussion in the fall.
Objective 7 Densification: Develop and adopt policies to encourage densification, especially in the Core Area, as foreseen in the General Plan, providing for additional mixed-use development and accessory dwelling units. This work should clarify any inconsistencies that exist between the various (and often conflicting) design guidelines and zoning.
(The city did not have an update here but noted: “Objective 7 is more of an ongoing effort, policies that council considers as they consider projects.”)
Objective 8 Hotel/Conference Center: Support the rapid entitlement and construction of a conference center with hotel and ample parking in Downtown.
The owner of the University Park Inn and Suites has submitted an application for a hotel conference facility on Richards Boulevard. The City convened a series of stakeholder meetings in June to provide input on preliminary plans. Public hearings are anticipated in fall 2014, after revisions are received from the project team.
Objective 9 CalTrans Community Identity Signage Program: Investigate and identify opportunities with this program for signage along I-80 and Highway 113.
YCVB was working on this one, but they did not get very far with CalTrans.
Objective 10 RDA Successor Agency: Monitor and provide input.
Oversight Board meetings continue to be scheduled as needed. AB 2493, if revised as the City has requested, would allow use of the 2010 bond proceeds for critical redevelopment efforts, such as Nishi, Richards Boulevard improvements, and the hotel conference facility.
—David M. Greenwald reporting