Last year we wrote that the City of Citrus Heights, concerned about Sunrise Mall, wanted mixed-use redevelopment there. It seems the City keeps its word. This month the City released its preferred concept plan for the Mall. It won’t be a standard mall. The plan includes a central “Main Street” that accesses retail stores and offices, hundreds of residential units, a hotel, and a “town center” park with event space. The City of Citrus Heights could have followed Sacramento County’s lead and just waited for the free market to slowly trickle in new tenants and/or speculative commercial spaces that attract low-end chains. (You can see the County’s handiwork for yourself at places like Country Club Plaza, Country Club Center, Arden Creek Town Center, Mike’s Market and that granddaddy of land-use-poster-children, Watt Avenue’s Saving Center.) But no, Citrus Heights is determined to strategically re-structure its important commercial core. Instead of nostalgia for commercial designs of past that don’t work well in the present or going forward, Citrus Heights is taking a different approach. It’s an approach our blog has mentioned before: practice growth without sprawl, use a blend of land uses, make the site a community center with “people places” and parks and event spaces. It’s as if someone actually cares about the properties in a jurisdiction, and takes steps to make civic dreams come true. Crazy, huh? It would have been SO MUCH easier to be like Sacramento County: endorse fake mixed-use, then just look the other way and wish the Good Fairy would fix everything with a magic wand. The public is told to pipe down because innovations won’t work here. If there was local control here in good old Arden Arcade, Sacramento County would not be able to continue its failure to cope with the decline of brick-and-mortar retail. But Arden Arcade does not have local control, and so long as that continues, we are are stuck with the County’s lack of vision.
(Oh, horrors! The Elves have said more not-goodie-goodie things about the County! Would someone please fetch a broomstick to shake at them to remind them to show more respect for the rulers of our lowly unincorporated nowhere?)