During the Innovation Center and Nishi discussion, a young man who identified himself as Thomas Slabaugh spoke during public comment. He said that, while he was in attendance at the last townhall meeting, he was there “as someone to offer a different perspective” as the youngest person in the room.
He said, “I feel like we get a lot of people who aren’t my age, getting up and voicing their concerns about this when the reality is my age group is going to be the most served by the Nishi-Gateway project.” He said he has been in Davis for the last eight years of his life. “In that time, I have experienced pretty much everything that Davis has to offer. I’ve loved every second of it, Davis is truly my home.”
“Although I have experienced a huge amount of personal growth in the last eight years, the community around me has stayed relatively the same,” he continued. “Albeit a comforting fact of life that one may go away for many years, return and have little change, that is something that in my opinion that has kind of run its course.”
He continued, “I am a product of the Davis public school system. I’m employed by a small business in downtown Davis and through my time in Davis I have participated in many of the city programs that probably people in this room have helped create.”
Mr. Slabaugh said, “The reason I am here today is that I believe that this project will continue to build upon this driving factor and ultimately improve the lives of many people in here.”
The project, he said, will provide 20,000 square feet for retail space and 125,000 square feet for R&D along with 650 multi-family housing units.
He said, “I believe that this Nishi-Gateway project will provide opportunities for small business owners, UC Davis students, and community members alike to grow and expand upon these new opportunities. If we are… which is our duty, that’s why we’re all here, we need to build this or a similar project.”
“For those of us who may doubt, I’m sure there are those of us who have concerns about this project, you’re justified and thank you, they keep us honest. They keep us constantly wanting to improve the existing projects that we have,” he continued.
“But we must have faith in our community and in the future, truly,” he said.
He has full confidence that this will be a successful development because he believes that “small business owners will come to this. I believe that students will take full advantage of the opportunities that are given to them and I believe it is the nature of the people of Davis to come in, take in an outsider and make him or her feel at home,” he said.
In closing, he called upon his fellow Davisites, “We have to get behind this. We have to get truly behind something like this. Because this will create a multiplier effect that’s not just going to be felt by my generation but the generations to follow us. So we need to leave a lasting legacy of positive change and growth.”
—David M. Greenwald reporting