Globe Mills’ cost spikes

The city’s Design Review and Preservation Board hasn’t heard an update on the reconstruction of the old Globe Mills site on the corner of 12th and C streets since the city council approved the plans for a 143-unit mixed-income housing project last March. But something dramatic has happened in the meantime: inflation.

Jim Hare of the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency said that as a result of hurricanes, sky-high fuel costs and a worldwide run on construction materials, construction bids are coming in 30 percent to 40 percent above two-year-old professionally prepared cost estimates.

Originally, the project was penciled out at $24 million, with $12.5 million coming from public funds. Based on recent bids, it looks like costs could rise into the low 30s, said Hare.

On May 3, the board will hold a hearing on the Globe Mills project, where it will have the first public discussion of possible strategies for dealing with the new numbers. Hare has already considered possible changes in the scope of the project, including the permanent loss of a small 1,600-square-foot barley mill that had been carefully dismantled and set aside for future reconstruction. Project planners thought it might make a good exercise room. Now, Hare wonders whether that’s an appropriate use for redevelopment funds.

These issues and others will be discussed on May 3 in the Historic City Hall building at 915 I Street at 5:30 p.m.

—Chrisanne Beckner

Future City 101

Local college students got to weigh in on the future of Sacramento development last week. Members of the city’s planning department, in conjunction with California State University, Sacramento, held a one-hour, noontime “College Summit” last Thursday in the campus’s University Union to help familiarize students with the city’s ongoing general-plan update.

Between 50 and 75 students met for a free lunch and a lesson in urban planning. Working in small groups, with a planning-department representative supervising, students first used a map to simulate future development around campus. Then students listed what they considered attributes of a great city.

It was all part of the planning department’s goal of involving students in the general-plan process; collecting their preferences on neighborhood and city life; and publicizing the plan, which will provide a blueprint for Sacramento’s growth through the year 2030.

Thursday’s event had more of the sober feel of a workshop or seminar than an electric meeting of the minds, though city officials expressed optimism. Principal planner Steve Peterson chuckled when asked if he could see the spark in the students’ eyes.

“Some of them are just trying to figure out what’s going on, but I think they’re excited about Sacramento’s future,” Peterson said.

Though each table of students had a representative speak after the first activity, their remarks weren’t recorded. Instead, Peterson said that sometime within the next few weeks, he and other planners would sift through the data collected during the meeting activities.

But at least one student was smiling. Geography Club President and CSUS senior Lauren Krugman knew of the summit months in advance, having helped plan it, and she brought most of her 15-member club with her Thursday.

Like Peterson, Krugman said that many of the students probably didn’t know much about planning but that their involvement Thursday was what mattered. Krugman only wished the event had been better publicized to attract more students.

The idea of getting students involved first came last year from the city council, upon the presentation of initial findings by planners.

District 3 Councilman Steve Cohn told SN&R that young people need to help envision Sacramento’s future. “They’re the ones who are going to be there 20, 30 years from now when a lot of these ideas start bearing fruit,” Cohn said.

Another round of town-hall forums, for students and non-students alike, is set to begin May 31 in neighborhoods around the city. Go to www.sacgp.org for more information.

—Graham Womack