BY BRANDY TUZON BOYD
THE NATOMAS BUZZ | @natomasbuzz
Natomas will land on its feet no matter what happens with the Sacramento Kings, NBA or Sleep Train Arena.
That was the message Monday from Sacramento Vice Mayor Angelique Ashby and District 3 city Councilman Steve Cohn at the 9th annual “State of Natomas” luncheon.
“I have two words for you: designated reuse,” Ashby told the crowd of nearly 200. “I never believed the fate of Natomas was locked in with the Kings.”
Ashby pointed work in 2012 by the “Think BIG” Natomas subcommittee – a 14-member ad hoc group charged with identifying a replacement plan for Sleep Train Arena as good, or better than, building a new arena in Natomas.
“I promise, Natomas will land on its feet,” she said. “We will have an economic engine equal to or greater than what is there now.”
Ashby said the top-three possible reuses for the 185-acre site include a hospital, university or high-technology campus akin to a Google or Facebook.
“Our fate is not in (the NBA’s or Maloof’s) hands,” added Cohn. “We determine our own destiny.”
Quality of life, finishing levee improvements and public safety were also topics covered by Ashby and Cohn at the event. An address by new District 4 city Councilman Steve Hansen was cancelled, event organizers said.
2013 State of Natomas highlights:
- Ashby credited efforts by north-area police Capt. James Maccoun for a drop in Natomas crime with less than half the number of officers patrolling the streets.
- Despite the closure of the Comcast call center in Natomas – the loss of about 400 jobs – Ashby said businesses like Sleep Train Mattress Centers, Buffalo Wild Wings, Ashley Furniture and Denny’s have invested in Natomas, creating 800-900 new jobs.
- Building restrictions could be lifted “any time” as soon as Congress OKs an U.S. Army Corps of Engineers report on levee repairs made to date. Federal dollars are needed to finish the work, but Natomas has strong advocates in Washington DC with Congresswoman Doris Matsui and Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein.
- Doyle Pool at Northgate Park will be open this summer and Cohn said he’s working to reopen the Natomas High School pool to the public.
- Park improvements are being made throughout Natomas to the tune of 1,700 volunteers, 5,400 hours and 91 projects in District 1 alone.
- Both Ashby and Cohn applauded the Natomas Unified School District school board’s recent decision to hire the Sacramento Police Department and reinstate School Resource Officers saying it will improve safety at Natomas-area schools.
The Natomas Chamber of Commerce hosts the annual State of Natomas event with support from sponsors.