City Spotlight: Benicia
East Bay Business Times - by East Bay Business Times
Friday, April 4, 2008
Elizabeth Patterson was elected mayor in 2007. She had served on the City Council from 2003, and earlier served two years on the Planning Commission. She has been a planner for two municipalities and currently is a staff environmental scientist for the state Department of Water Resources.
What excites you the most about Benicia's future? Becoming the "green" gateway to Solano County and meeting the challenge of global warming.
What troubles you the most about Benicia's future? Missing opportunities to be a leader in the county for greenhouse gas emission reduction.
What is the biggest opportunity in Benicia? The Benicia Business Park, a proposed 500-acre industrial development site that will potentially house many new businesses.
What is Benicia's biggest asset? Benicia has an extremely involved and educated community that truly contributes to making it a wonderful place to live and visit.
What is its biggest liability? Benicia has two freeways that run on either side of it, so although many people may drive by it daily, most are not really aware of our bustling industrial park and vibrant downtown.
What is the most important development project going or to come soon? Benicia Business Park. Also, the E Street Lot in Benicia's downtown area, which is a city-owned two-acre site.
What is something people don't know about Benicia? Benicia was the third state capitol in California (1853-1854). Benicia is home to the only pre-Sacramento capitol building that still survives.
Biggest private employer: Valero
No. of Valero employees: 531
No. 2 private employer: Dunlop Manufacturing
No. of Dunlop employees: 200
No. of business licenses: 1,650
No. of jobs in Benicia: 16,300
Median household income: $77,800
Median home price, February '08: $502,500
History: Benicia, along with Monterey, is one of the first two cities in California. It incorporated in 1850, and in 1853, became the state Capitol for one year. The Capitol moved to Sacramento in 1854. Benicia�s access to water and rail transport made it a key center for commerce. It is home to many historical sites. Besides the Capitol building, there is the Camel Barn Museum, where the Army�s experiment with camels as pack animals ended; the Clock Tower Fortress, a bastion built to protect the waterway; the Benicia Arsenal, the first ordinance supply depot on the West Coast; and the Fire Museum, home to a number of fire-fighting engines. Besides the historic downtown, Benicia is actively developing its waterfront and large industrial park. Above, the restored train depot at the foot of First Street is part of a revival of retail, homes and restaurants at the Benicia waterfront.