Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Rio Vista upgrading waterfront to draw more business downtown

Rio Vista upgrading waterfront to draw more business downtown
By Melissa Murphy/The Reporter, Vacaville
Posted: 07/21/2009

(Courtesy rendering) A facelift for Rio Vista's vacant waterfront is under way.

Although the property is cluttered with construction work, preventing visitors from fishing, soon it will be an even busier place, with more amenities and an overall upgrade, officials said.

"It's a heavily used spot," said Rio Vista Mayor Jan Vick. "We're hoping this will jump-start new development."

With help from many residents and area property owners, the city recently created a waterfront improvement plan.

The project area includes the shoreline and adjacent properties from Main Street to Helen Madera Bridge.

Suggested public improvements include a shoreline walking-bicycle path, landscaping, new boat docks and flood control improvements.

To get the project's first part done in time for the city's annual Bass Festival the fall, the site is closed to the public through mid-September.

Access to the State Fishing Pier still will be possible, but the waterfront park area will be closed temporarily during this roughly 60-day period.

The pilot project has been funded by the Solano Transportation Authority and the Yolo Solano Air Quality Management District as an alternative transportation venture.

The pathway, if built, will allow people to walk and bike from the north to south sides of town without a car. The California State Parks Department also has allocated funds from Proposition 40 to pay for the improvements.

The Specific Plan creates a blueprint for private redevelopment of a potential mix of uses, among them gift or clothing stores, waterside restaurants and a hotel.

"We're hoping to get owners of the private property interested in doing something with the site so that our waterfront doesn't remain vacant," Vick said. "Our ultimate goal is to have it developed to draw people down to Main Street and make this a regional attraction.

"We do know it's going to take a while, but this is the first step."

She also encourages residents to become involved.

The city is offering businesses and families a chance to buy tiles for $50 each for the central plaza area. The idea is to keep costs down and get the public to become part of the project.

For additional information on the plan or to buy tiles, contact the Rio Vista Community Development Department at 374-2205.