'Elk Grove's Civic Center can be beacon of light for future generations but we need your help'

January 25, 2018 | 

Those reading this story undoubtedly noticed the quote marks in the headline. While the headline is a quote, it is not from spoken words.

Instead, it is quoting an opinion piece published in the Wednesday, January 7, 2009 edition of the Elk Grove Citizen. The quote is actually from an opinion piece written by-then mayor and current Elk Grove City Council Member Pat Hume.

Thanks to a subscriber who tracks such things, Hume's opinion piece can be viewed below.

Published over nine years and about two weeks ago, much has changed in Elk Grove and for the civic center. Perhaps the most significant change was the elimination of the design of the late, internationally renown architect, Zaha Hadid (her proposed design is pictured above).

Also notable in Hume's piece was mention the civic center could include a performing arts center. While Hume and others in the community have consistently expressed a desire for such a center, that aspect of the development not only was moved to the back burner, but because of financial considerations, is on life support.  

Instead of focusing on a performing arts center that could be a regional attraction for all sorts of performances and performers - think of the Harris Center in Folsom - the city pursued athletic facilities.

The first idea, which was pushed by former council member and current California Assemblymember Jim Cooper, was for several baseball fields. That plan collapsed after the two possible vendors the city was considering got involved in what can be described as a peeing contest.

It was in that void that former mayor and council member Gary Davis presented the idea for a large aquatics center. While Elk Grove already had one operated by the Cosumnes Community Services District, Davis, ever the clever politician, packed the city council chambers with swim teams members and their families creating what some argued was the illusion of a swimming pool shortage crisis in Elk Grove.

Once Davis got hold of that, the rest of the council mostly went along, and in a few months from now, a swimming pool that has the former mayor's fingerprints all over it will open. Of course, the swimming pool, which is expected to require annual subsidies from Mello Roos fees being paid by Laguna Ridge residents, will not have the splash park as originally proposed nor ever host Olympic trials as Davis envisioned, but he nonetheless can take a degree of credit for shepherding the concept.  

Perhaps the most salient part of Hume's piece is the first paragraph:

"Rarely in the lifetime of a city does the occasion arise to make a contribution for future generations that may someday grow to be iconic of the city itself. Residents and stakeholders in Elk Grove have an opportunity to help shape perhaps the most monumental public project since the establishment of the regional park over a half-century ago."

As the people and the City of Elk Grove proceed not only on the naming of the area but adding other structures, Hume's 2009 words should be heeded. 

Click to enlarge. 

Post a Comment Default Comments


D.J. Blutarsky said...

That "beacon of light" is going to need more than a searchlight to avoid being labeled a 'financial boondoggle of epic proportions. Pity the performing arts center failed to make the cut.

Unlike a performing arts center that can operate all year, day or night, I have a hard time visualizing 'The Pool' as being the compelling attraction during the evenings and winter. The Pool might be at the geographic center of the city, but so is the Moana Loa volcano on the big island of Hawaii. I've never seen tourism and nighttime activity being centered around the volcano.

Regardless of its name, The Pool and the surrounding vets hall and senior center does not sound like the cultural hub and entertainment nerve center of the city. Mr. Pappas, the Father of our city, might be able to lure some specialty retailers to open up shop there, especially after the city opens up its coffers of incentive money. However, the market will ultimately decide how long they can last.

I read online that about 54% of the U.S. population does not know how to swim, and I also wonder how many residents have backyard pools or have friends with backyard pools? I suppose the dream customer of the civic center will be a senior citizen, who is also a veteran, and likes to pay to swim, and will be in the mood to do some shopping after they hit the showers and dry off!

Mr. Hume may have hit the nail on the head with his editorial. Better go out to bid for a huge searchlight beacon and give it a whirl...

Connie said...

Hey D.J. and Dan of EGN, thanks for the trip down memory lane when the Elk Grove Community Connection (EGCC) put on this town hall meeting. I am one of the co-founders.

One of the things we would do was to promote the town hall meetings was to have Op Eds put in the local newspapers inviting the public to attend, what to expect and why. They were very effective as this meeting was standing room only.

We were asked by residents to put on the meeting after the city of Elk Grove held three town hall meetings on the proposed civic center, paid a company over $10K, and only 14 people attended. The third meeting was cancelled because only one person showed up. We put the meeting on for expenses only of $500 and that included a meet and greet reception with food. We always volunteered our time because we felt the civic center, and other town hall meetings, were too important not to have the public involved.

Sadly, a performing arts center was at the top of list when the public was asked to vote on what was most important to them.

Now, if you think it is easy to get our elected officials to write Op Eds, it is not. Many times, a EGCC ghost writer would have to pen it on their behalf. And course, they would never acknowledge that fact when they got glowing reviews, picture and all.

On this particular Op Ed, however, though Pat Hume is an excellent writer, and he did write a lot of it, it had to be edited and the particular passage you singled out was a joint effort.

D.J., considering your commentaries on EGN, how well they are written, and the sarcasm duly noted and appreciated, I take your comment as a compliment as I am an aficionado.

Follow Us




Available on Amazon

Available on Amazon
New children's book - Click on image to purchase

Elk Grove News Minute

All previous Elk Grove News Minutes, interviews, John Hulls Sports Minute, and Dan Schmitt's Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me podcasts are now available on iTunes

Ya' Gotta be Schmittin' Me Podcasts

Elk Grove News Podcast

Listen to other podcasts in our archives here

John Hull's Elk Grove Sports Minute

[image src="IMAGE LINK"/] google.com, pub-5438620617508054, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0