Friday, December 30, 2011

The Waterfront Cafe Pulling Into Suisun City Train Station

SUISUN CITY — A new café will open in the Suisun City Train Station to provide convenient food service and a unique atmosphere for commuters, transit users and nearby office workers.

The City signed a lease with The Waterfront Café, LLC., in December, concluding a search for a new operator for the historic Train Station location, a key regional transportation hub.

“We are very excited about the strong potential for The Waterfront Café to be a terrific ambassador welcoming people to Suisun City while providing commuters the services they deserve,” said Marketing Manager Scott Corey.

Local entrepreneurs Tina Montez and Kevin Smith are working to launch The Waterfront Café by early February, featuring as many local, healthy and sustainable products as possible.

“We’re looking forward to servicing the commuters as well as the community who live, work and visit the Waterfront District,” Smith said.

The café will complement the station’s key transportation services, including the Amtrak/Capitol Corridor, Fairfield-Suisun Transit (FAST), and Greyhound and other local connections provided at the station by the City of Rio Vista Delta Breeze transit service.

Terms of the lease require the station to be open by 6 a.m. weekdays to serve commuters using the increasingly popular Amtrak/Capitol Corridor train service, which operates 32 trains daily connecting Solano County’s only commuter rail stop with Sacramento and the entire Bay Area.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Supreme Court Delivers Worst-Case Scenario for Suisun City Redevelopment

SUISUN CITY — When the California Supreme Court upheld on Thursday the dissolution of Redevelopment Agencies and struck down a voluntary program to keep them alive, it delivered the worst-case scenario for the Suisun City Redevelopment Agency.

The elimination of the Redevelopment Agency will require cutting the current City budget by $1.4 million, which the City Council has discussed in theory for several months. Because the option to pay annually to retain the Redevelopment Agency was eliminated, Suisun City stands to lose approximately $13 million in additional cash and assets.

“We’re still digesting the court’s decision,” said City Manager Suzanne Bragdon. “But from reading the basic background provided by the court, it’s clear that those not at the local level – people not on the ground – miss the whole concept that redevelopment provides tools to make new development and new projects happen that wouldn’t happen by private investment alone.

"Instead, they describe redevelopment as a big shell game that allows cities to grab property taxes from other entities, rather than a tool to grow the overall property tax pool – not to mention the creation of other tax revenues and jobs – which benefits everyone, including schools and the State," Bragdon said. "This decision has severely limited future business development in a community like Suisun City.”

>> Read about more local impacts and link to the court opinion

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

$4.7 million Suisun City Affordable Housing Renovation Complete

Public-Private Partnership Extends Life of Housing Complex
SUISUN CITY — A $4.7 million renovation of the Village II apartment complex in Suisun City has been completed providing residents of the 106-unit affordable housing complex modern kitchens, bathrooms and other amenities.

The modernization project of the 40-year-old complex was undertaken by the Solano Affordable Housing Foundation (SAHF), with support from the City of Suisun City and numerous other federal, state and local public programs.

“The renovation of the Village II is a textbook example of how the community benefits when public and private entities work together,” said Suzanne Bragdon, Suisun City Manager. “Creating partnerships is how we get things done in Suisun City.”
Veronica Champine

With new affordable housing projects difficult to complete, it was important for the community to extend the lifespan of existing complexes such as the Village II, located at 506 Civic Center Blvd., in Suisun City.

Coordinating the strengths of government programs, a non-profit developer, and for-profit construction and management companies resulted in upgrades averaging $44,000 per unit. Many units received all new kitchens and bathrooms, washer/dryer, and upgraded electrical systems. The complex exterior and grounds also were upgraded.

The work pumped several million dollars into the local economy during a period when many construction projects are frozen. Local subcontractors performed $2.2 million of the construction work, with the balance awarded to companies in neighboring counties. Contractor Tricorp Hearn has offices in Vacaville, and the key on-site personnel are Solano County residents.

“SAHF strives to utilize as many local contractors as reasonably possible when building or renovating a complex,” said Michael Rice, President of Suisun City-based builder Main Street West Partners and a member of SAHF’s Board of Directors.

Financing the project was complex and involved federal, state, and local government agencies. The starting point was the City of Suisun City, which approved the use of tax-exempt bonds for the debt structure of the project. Though the City took on no obligation for repayment, it had to approve the bonds as meeting a public purpose. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provided the mortgage insurance needed to secure the financing, and two departments of the California Treasurer’s Office issued the bond and tax-credit allocations.

Several private sector entities also participated, including the transaction lender PNC Financial of San Francisco. Equity for the transaction was provided by Oakland’s Merritt Community Capital Corporation (MCCC), a non-profit affordable housing investor that has provided several million dollars for Solano County affordable housing.

The project developer and general partner for the ownership group is SAHF, a non-profit corporation located in Fairfield, charged with increasing and improving the supply of affordable housing in Solano County. In its 20-year history, SAHF has constructed or renovated more than 1,000 dwelling units, and brought more than $80 million in affordable financing for housing to the County.

“Affordable housing transactions are very complex requiring the teamwork of a number of both public and private entities,” said Dennis McCray, Executive Director for SAHF. “The result for Village II was particularly positive: in 9 ½ months the team temporarily relocated 106 families and their belongings, and performed more than $40,000 per unit in improvements. The relocation tab alone was just shy of $1 million. The success of the project is largely due to the expertise of Tricorp Hearn, the contractor, the supervising architect, Construction Services Division of John Stewart Company, and the relocation firm of David Richman.”

Because affordable housing is increasingly difficult to build due to ever-increasing costs and complex regulations, upgrading 106 existing affordable units to current standards is a substantial benefit for both the community and building residents.
Marvin Leaks

Tenants at the Village II were very pleased with the results.

“I had all original fixtures in my apartment, now I feel like I have a brand new home!” said Veronica Champine, a 12-year resident of the Village. “I love my new kitchen with so much more cabinet space, the new bathroom is wonderful, and I got brand new carpet, which was a surprise. We now have air conditioning too! I love coming home. It’s the closest thing I have to owning my own home. I love it!”

“It’s just lovely!” said 14-year resident Marvin Leaks, fondly referred to as “Mr. Marv.” “We are so excited about our new kitchen cabinets, countertops, the new flooring, beautiful new closet doors, and air conditioning. We love our new home so much we bought a few new decorations for it. Property management did an excellent job preparing us for the construction process and temporary relocation. I love the whole deal.”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Salvation Army Needs Turkeys to Help Local Families in Need

The Salvation Army is known for helping those in need during the holidays. But that support is only possible when the community supports the Salvation Army.  Right now, they need turkeys.  Here's a press release the Salvation Army, Solano County issued today:
SUISUN CITY, Calif. – The Salvation Army serving Solano County is in the midst of the 2nd Annual 12 Days of Turkey campaign with a goal of obtaining 900 turkeys for Christmas food boxes.  The first week of the drive has produced a couple hundred turkeys but over 700 are still needed to ensure all registered families in need receive a turkey for their Christmas dinner.  The drive runs through December 18th.
Donations are still very much needed and can be dropped off Monday –Friday from 9:00 AM-12:00 PM and 1:00 PM-4:00 PM at assorted Salvation Army locations across Solano County.

Monetary donations are also accepted and often area a more efficient way to go.

“The Salvation Army is fortunate enough to receive a non-profit discount for the purchase of turkeys,” said Captain Jonathan Harvey, Suisun City Kroc Center Administrator.  “We will be able to purchase turkeys for less than what the public would pay.  We are urging monetary donations because we will be able to make the public’s dollar really stretch.”

Monetary and turkey donations can be dropped off at the following locations:  

Fairfield: 1216 Missouri Street   (707) 426-6244
Suisun City: 278 A Sunset Ave  (707) 439-7880
Vacaville: 630 Orange Drive # M   (707) 455-8191      
Vallejo: 630 Tuolumne Street (707) 643-8621