Downtown improvements under way in Vallejo, assisted by state and federal stimulus funding
By Sarah Rohrs, Times-Herald
An influx of state and federal money is making it possible for the city to launch a series of downtown Vallejo improvements, officials said.
A new bus transfer station, ferry terminal improvements, and new trees and sidewalks on Virginia Street are some infrastructure projects in the works or waiting in the wings.
"It's kind of exciting that so much is being invested in the downtown," Public Works Director Gary Leach said. "Hopefully, it will provide some impetus for private developers to come in and invest."
The city is also about to solicit bids on the first phase of Vallejo Station, a three-story parking on Santa Clara Street, Leach said. The 740-parking space structure will connect the downtown to the ferry terminal, and also help remove parking from along the waterfront.
Construction on the multi-story building should begin in about three months, Leach said. The $24 million project is being funded mainly through bridge toll money, but no city funds, he added.
Another new project is the city's "streetscape plan" which will target four blocks with new trees, sidewalks, street lighting and pavement.
The plan's first phase targets Virginia Street between Sonoma Boulevard and Marin Street, in addition to Sacramento Street between Georgia and Maine streets, Leach said.
Work began in January with new water lines and a storm drain system. More visible improvements will start to take shape this spring, Leach said.
A $2.3 million federal stimulus grant is making this work possible, Vallejo Associate Civil Engineer Allan Panganiban said. The city is also getting some funding through the state Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.
Federal stimulus money is also making it possible for upgrades to the Vallejo Ferry terminal on Mare Island Way. Leach said the work will include a rehabilitation of the terminal, including new bathroom facilities, and relocation of the Vallejo Convention & Visitors Bureau to another part of the building.
The new bus transfer station is another downtown project in the works. Construction began three months ago and should be completed by the end of the year. The new station is being built in the public lot behind the Georgia Vista Center at Sacramento and York streets.
During construction, the former downtown bus transfer station has been relocated to the ferry terminal.