New Valley
The Good Life

Show # NV 304
New Valley is brought to you by the following sponsors:

 Williams + Paddon, architects, planners, people. Providing architecture, planning and interior design for corporate, institutional and educational clients. Design services for a sustainable future.

 VSP is a proud leader of Partnership for Prosperity, working together to create a shared business agenda that enriches our quality of life.

 Committed to the community, Five Star Bank recognizes the importance of this collaboration toward local empowerment and continued prosperity for the capital region. Five Star Bank is a proud sponsor of New Valley.

 Treasure Homes is proud to support New Valley in an effort to build better communities and encourage smarter business practices. Fallen Leaf at River Bend in Natomas is an example of Treasure Homes commitment to energy efficient homes that promote clean energy and enhance the quality of life throughout the Sacramento region.

Living the good life.

Joaquin Feliciano, Cyclist: Oh it was a perfect great day to be out on the trail.

Whether it’s biking, the arts or theater, people often define themselves by where they live and what they enjoy doing.

 Gregg Lukenbill, Lukenbill Enterprises

 Quality of Life is about having opportunities for the people to experience things on the cutting edge of excellence, whatever that may be. It could be first class theatre, nice symphony; it could be professional sports at a major level like baseball, basketball, football, soccer.

As the valley prospers and grows new amenities such as Modesto’s Gallo Center in Stanislaus County provides enticing opportunities. After all, it’s culture and charm that attracts people to cities.

In fact, a recent survey concludes that two-thirds of college-educated adults between the ages of 25 and 34 decide where they want to live first and then look for a job.

 That can make developing a dream like a new civic amenity, a good investment in the future of a community. It’s smart for the area’s business climate.Gregg Lukenbill: You know this was the game ball from opening night at the temporary arena in October of 85.

Gregg Lukenbill: I look back at the fact that we built two arenas in three years with private sector money and ended up paying six million dollars a year in taxes and bonds out of our own pocket to support the city and county six million a year, 500 thousand a month, 16 thousand 700 dollars a day.

In the mid 1980’s, Developer Gregg Lukenbill was the lightning rod, the front man who built the Arco Arena and then brought the Kings Basketball team to Sacramento.

Gregg Lukenbill: It was never about the Kings for me. It was more about the facility and opportunity for quality first class events. The Ringling Brothers had not been here since the forties. You know you get national quality concerts in here now that they didn’t get the opportunity to before. If we had built it two to three thousand seats bigger, maybe we would have gotten the Rolling Stones in here, I don’t who know.

Though Lukenbill says his primary goal was to build something of a family living room for the community, he admits the Kings gave Sacramento a global identity.

Gregg Lukenbill: Gold probably put us on the map you know. Gold first and then obviously the benefit of being the Capitol. And I think that more than anything influences the long term stability of the economics and the opportunities in the community over the next century or two as it relates to capitol cities worldwide.

Gregg Lukenbill: I’ve had the benefit of doing quite a bit of traveling the past 15 years and being in red square and seeing Sacramento Kings bobble heads for sale definitely brought home a lot of knowledge about who and where Sacramento was as it related to that basketballs team success.

Lukenbill wasn’t afraid to take chances and in more ways than one.

Gregg Lukenbill: It was a game in 1989 against the Philadelphia 76ers and we had a huge rainstorm outside and in the 4 th quarter of the game we started getting water on the floor. The roof was leaking and I decided I could use one of the banners that was hanging down from the rafters went outside to drape across the area where the leak was so I hopped over the catwalk and walked down on the beam and took the banner with me and stopped the leak and that’s how the game got finished. That actually made Headline News the next morning and practically ever owner in the NBA said to me, did you do that, did you actually walk out on the beam just to keep the game going? So it was just one of those things, it’s just who I am. I grew up in the construction business, you know.

Lukenbill’s hands-on approach is a direct result of his philosophical passion for enriching the overall well being of the community.

Gregg Lukenbill: People forget that we basically built and contributed to the Cosumnes River College gymnasium to get some of the benefits of the basketball team to the south part of Sacramento.

Greg Van Dusen heads up Placer County’s tourism office. Years ago, he was part of the Lukenbill entourage escorting the Kings from Kansas City to Sacramento.

Greg Van Dusen, Chief Executive Officer, Placer Valley Tourism: Sports creates social change.

Greg Van Dusen: The playing field is level, no matter who you are, what color you are, who your parents were, it doesn’t matter.

Van Dusen says building an arena paved the way for building memories. He says he’ll never forget some of the youth championship games.

Greg Van Dusen: Every year when they came, and I was out there at Arco, I would sit in a chair in the bottom row. As the kids came out to practice and you’d get some kids that came into that arena from some very dire circumstances and some tough neighborhoods and I often cried. It was so amazing to see them dribble their basketball out of the tunnel and look up and say wow, this is where the Kings play. These kids had a sense of accomplishment, just a lightning bolt of self-esteem and perhaps a sense of hope for their futures.

Gregg Lukenbill: My theory was and remains that if you can tie together urban expansion with urban renewal, in my case, it was North Natomas and the Hyatt Hotel. Those things are necessary to be able to in balance to bring the whole area up together and spread the benefits of the economic impact of the positive things and then it’s kind of balanced politically and socially, technically and economically.

Allen Warren, President & CEO, New Faze Development: My belief is that Sacramento really would not be all that Sacramento could be if we have communities like Del Paso Heights that are left behind. I believe we have to connect the dots and so we have to really in order for us to have a healthy community all of our, or healthy city, all of our communities need to look, feel and act healthy.

Community leaders working together for the betterment of all. Lukenbill and Allen Warren have a lot in common. Warren is president of New Faze Development and has returned to the Del Paso Heights neighborhood where he was raised.

Allen Warren: I have a very special fondness for Del Paso Heights in my heart.

Once a prominent and vital part of Sacramento, Warren says the area has been severely neglected and underdeveloped.

Allen Warren: For me, I saw it as an opportunity to help revitalize this community and to reconnect it to the city of Sacramento.

llen Warren: Our company has developed a number of housing sub divisions in Del Paso Heights in Northern Sacramento. We were also the developer in joint venture construction contractor for the Sacramento Urban League building, which is a very prominent building in the Del Paso Heights community.

Warren sees Del Paso Heights as a diamond in the rough. And he’s willing to do the work to make it shine. Warren like Lukenbill knows the region has great potential.

Gregg Lukenbill: This of course is the Hyatt Regency, which opened in 1988.

Art by Daryl Fornay sums up the Lukenbill journey in a single word – Sacramento.

Gregg Lukenbill: Here is the “S” which is the permanent Arco Arena.

Gregg Lukenbill: This is the baseball statues, for my failed attempt to get a stadium built back in 1988, 1990.

Gregg Lukenbill: Of course that’s the basketball team.

Lukenbill knows change is not easy. Though he wasn’t able to build a pro baseball Stadium, the area eventually got Raley Field and the River Cats. The challenge in new Development Lukenbill maintains is getting all parties on the same page, including Politicians, city officials, and environmentalists. It takes leadership.

 Gregg Lukenbill: I think downtown has a great future in front of it. I wish that we’d clean up some of the rail yard project and have a clearer vision, a clearer shared vision.

Lukenbill says his sports days are long gone. Still, a new arena for Sacramento remains at the top of some people’s wish list.

Greg Van Dusen: As we look at you know all the issues involved in building a new arena, we need to think about how many jobs are created there, how many positive social impacts are created there and understand the depth of the benefit that that building provides to our community.

Sky King this is Helen.

Lukenbill now owns and runs, a charter airline, Sky King named after an old aerodynamic TV western from the 50’s.

The Adventures of Sky King. For a while there his airline also flew the Kings. Hence, Sky King.

Gregg Lukenbill: We fly to Cuba seven days a week and we fly down to the Caribbean.

Though charting a different course, Lukenbill remains committed to the region.

Gregg Lukenbill: It’s starting to feel like one continuous development and I think eventually, you know in the next 30 or 40 years, I don’t think there’s any question that whole area feels and it is solid from here to Stockton and it will become a more continuous community from here to there.

No question Sacramento is spilling closer all the time to its surrounding counties, San Joaquin, El Dorado, Placer, Yolo.

Gregg Lukenbill: There needs to be significant breakthroughs in how we move around in this community, whether it’s additional freeways, certainly different transit, different modes of transportation and getting light rail out to the airport and the North Sacramento area and down through Cal Expo and back to Downtown.

Growing communities equal longer commutes and increased traffic congestion. Though improved transportation for commuters and residents is a challenge that needs addressing, former Kings advocate turned tourism director, Greg Van Dusen is more than optimistic.

Greg Van Dusen: It’s not the cities that are on oceanfront that typically grow to become the great cities. It’s the inland cities that grow in a 360 degree radius on rivers and you know we’ve got the beautiful confluences of the two rivers and we’ve got hills up this way and fantastic agricultural country down in the valley.

And it’s some of the best farmland anywhere in the nation. The fertile fields are fed

by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta…the hub of the states water distribution system.

About two-thirds of all Californians and millions of acres of irrigated farmland rely on

the Delta for water. Agriculture is big business in the region and according to the California Research Bureau…20 percent of jobs here are agriculture related.

Diana Borroel, President & CEO, Sacramento Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:

There’s different avenues of contribution. One is the actual people that work out in the fields that helps the farmers harvest their crops. There’s also the processing of the agricultural products.

Statewide, Hispanics comprise more than a third of our population. Overall, the Sacramento region is known as one of the most diverse in the country.

Diana Borroel: My vision for Sacramento is that the Hispanic community will make large contributions to not only the economy but also politically and the purchasing power of the Hispanics in Sacramento is huge. The demographics, you have a much larger, much younger demographics and they have plenty of dollars to spend.

Van Dusen would like to see that money pumped back into the local economy.

Greg Van Dusen: If we work together as a region, we can continue to shape things in a way that will have wonderful impacts for generations and generations to come.We don’t all have to be the same. The region should be diverse but we need to think of ourselves as a unified region because there’s a lot of issues we can work together on for the betterment of all of us.

Greg Van Dusen: Placer is politically a conservative County and they’ve done something that’s absolutely amazing. There’s a Placer Legacy Program that is setting aside tens of thousands of acres of open space that’ll be Open space forever. We have walking trails and bike trails and things like that everywhere. Much like Sacramento, our weather is perhaps the greatest attraction. We don’t talk about it much but we have 252 cloudless days per year and when we’re trying to recruit business and such, that’s very very attractive.

Joaquin Feliciano: Well I don’t know anywhere else you can ride 36 miles with no car traffic and beautiful scenery on perfectly paved roads.

Joaquin Feliciano is an avid cyclist and regularly rides throughout the region. While he enjoys traversing the hills of Placer County, Feliciano says he’s especially fond of the American River bike trail.

Joaquin Feliciano: From Old Town to Folsom, it goes, it’s about 30 miles and then you can even go on past there. The trail it’s self is 30 miles, so you can go out and back and get 60 miles in without cars.

Not only is the trail gorgeous and great for cyclists, equestrians and hikers, it also provides bathrooms, water fountains and benches for taking breaks.

Joaquin Feliciano: I come from Davis. Sometimes I drive from Davis to Sacramento, but then also from my house in Davis to Folsom and back, it’s exactly 100 miles. It’s a perfect early season century for me.

The bike trail is actually part of the American Discovery Trail that enters California on the Tahoe Rim Trail in Truckee and goes all the way through the valley to the Delta to San Francisco. Most of the bike trial is flat. But if it’s hills you want, Placer County has them. The area is also gearing up to meet the needs of its flourishing communities. 

Greg Van Dusen: We’re at about 160-thousand population in south Placer between the cities of Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln and we’re just at that point where we need to decide what sort of major community amenities and attractions we’re going to develop for the future. Is it time for us to build a convention center? I think not. Sacramento has a good convention center. Is it time for us to build a Vegas strip? We probably don’t want that lifestyle here. A casino or two, that’s fine, that’s good. Time for us to start looking at building a sports tourism center, which is something that does not exist in the region? It probably is.

Looking for innovative new amenities is important. But shoring up existing ones is also imperative. Beth Tincher works for the Sacramento Economic Development Department.

Beth Tincher, Senior Project Manager, Downtown Development Group, City of Sacramento: Currently one of my major focuses is the waterfront. I’m working on the docks area project as well as the promenade. Our major attraction to the waterfront is Old Sacramento and we do have other amenities on the river such as Miller Park, which is south of Broadway. But a lot of our waterfront area is highly underutilized. Over time, it’s become a dilapidated under utilized industrial area that is largely vacant at times, partially contaminated. There are old rail yards along our waterfront. Has a lot of history but it’s time for us to revitalize our waterfront to bring even more people to celebrate one of our natural and unique features in Sacramento, the Sacramento and American Rivers. 

Old Sac is a charming tourist attraction and home to the world famous Jazz Jubilee. The Railroad Museum attracts people of all ages and keeps children entranced for hours while at the same time providing an invaluable lesson in California history.

Saul Ruiz, Parent: Yeah, so this my son here and my nephew and they just love choo choo trains.

The handsome Tower and Pioneer bridges serve as connectors to West Sacramento. Yet both sides of the bank have been challenged when it comes to riverfront development. Progress has been slow to say the least. And just a hop, skip and a jump from the stellar Railroad Museum, is a rail yard that is posing serious problems.

Beth Tincher: There are complex sites that usually contains contamination on the project side as well as movement of rail line, lack of infrastructure and in addition, there are a lot of agencies that we need buy off from to develop and the coordination of all those agencies takes a considerable amount of time. 

While movement is slow, progress is being made on promenades along both sides of the river.

Beth Tincher: There currently is a portion of the promenade that’s built from Tower Bridge to O Street but we are in the process of designing and gaining approvals to build the promenade from O Street down to Miller Park. 

Nearby, the city-owned Crocker Art Gallery is undergoing an 85 million dollar, 125-thousand square foot expansion. The Crocker is in what’s called the Bridging I-5 project study area that extends from Capitol Mall south to R Street.  

Beth Tincher: We continue to discuss what’s called bridging I-5 which is putting a deck over I-5 to bridge the western waterfront to the downtown area. We’ll continue to move forward with that project. However, you know, depending on the funding resources, we may choose as a city to develop other projects versus the decking I-5 project.

Bridging I-5 is an ambitious economic and transportation project estimated to cost between 250 and 400 million dollars. It will reconnect downtown to the riverfront. That would open the door for a blend of parks, housing, retail and office space.

Beth Tincher: It would actually help bolster economic growth in our economy because one, the more residential housing units we have downtown, the more we can support retail downtown and as well it will be an attractor to our city. If market conditions improve we can see development occurring as early as 2010. 

Though developing the waterfront is a monumental task, it can be done. Portland, Oregon is a perfect example.

David Yamashita, Senior Planner, Portland Parks & Recreation: We’re proud of what has happened and with all the planning with Waterfront Park and it’s always a challenge and it’s not easy. But considering that we’ve turned a highway into a park, that’s a pretty bold stroke.

The park is busy, rain or shine. 

David Yamashita: I think this is essential for anyone looking to develop riverfront parks in cities or to do something that is that bold as that it takes a combination of political leadership, very strong political leadership, political will and a clear vision of what you want to achieve and it you have those three ingredients, I think you can really make it work.

David Yamashita is a planner with the Parks and Recreation Department in Portland, Oregon, another city known for its rivers and waterways.

David Yamashita: People are always attracted to water; regardless to where you are in the world really, people are attracted to water.

A strong commitment and clear vision have made the Portland Waterfront Park a major asset, with fine hotels, restaurants and shops. Portland is now in the planning stages of resurrecting a year round public market.  

Ron Paul, City Consultant, Portland: The planning and development has taken a huge leap just in the last several months. 

Plans include more than two dozen merchants selling everything from fresh produce to prepared foods, flowers and wine. Most importantly, it would serve as yet another public gathering place.

Ron Paul: The Public market is destined to be the city’s kitchen and pantry. And when you entertain, I know where your friends hang out; it’s seldom in the living room, but always in the kitchen.

Here at home, like Portland and other major cities, there’s always work to be done. Yet the Sacramento region has much to celebrate.

The California State Fair each year draws record crowds. They pour into Cal Expo from the north, south, east and west to get a taste of the good life.

Madison Judd, Student: When you come to Sutter’s Fort, you really relive how the pioneers did when they came here and it’s really educational.

Sutter’s Fort brings to life the days of the old west and offers people a glimpse of decades gone by.

Curtis Boortz, Student: It’s good to have a place like Sutter’s Fort in the area because it’s like living history for everyone in the city.

From black smiths and covered wagons, to one of Sacramento’s largest tourist attractions, the zoo is another reason for the city to boast.

Delta Pick Mello, Marketing & Community Relations Director, Sacramento Zoo:

The zoo is 80 years old so we have a beautiful landscape from which to offer the zoo experience. The Sacramento zoo is pretty small though. We’re only on these 14 acres, but despite our size, we compete with some major zoos across the state.

Delta Pick Mello: Although we are considering relocation, that’s a long long process and as we celebrate our 80 th birthday this year. We had to look at the future and decide if we’re going to be at the same location 80 years from now and probably not. But as we are here at this zoo, we are committed to be the best small zoo it can possibly be.

The best it can possibly be, that’s a recurring theme throughout the region. When it comes to vineyards, San Joaquin and Stanislaus Counties are known across the globe for quality wines. In Modesto, the Ernest & Julio Gallo Winery has been a mainstay for 70 years and is the choice of more consumers than any other winery in the world.

Recently, the Gallo Center opened its doors, thanks to Marie Gallo, a resident of Modesto. Because of the Gallo Center, Modesto has hosted the likes of The Joffrey Ballet, Grammy Award Winning Performer Tony Bennett and Country Singer Rosanne Cash.

In Yolo County, the Mondavi Center offers a full exploration of the performing arts. And while the region is abundant with resources and amenities, growth is coupled with needs.

Believe it or not, a wish list is an important part of the planning process for the future, ensuring generations to come, a better chance at living, the good life.

Gregg Lukenbill: I think that if we had something that could support the performing arts that would be fantastic.

Allen Warren: I hope this is a place that people throughout this region will come and visit. They will feel safe here, they will come to restaurants, see entertainment and come and view art and our Second Saturdays here.

Greg Van Dusen: Up here in Placer, because it’s newer growth, that’s what I call the spirit of Placer. It’s a wonderful thing, we have a yes we can attitude and it’s ok to have a vision here.

Gregg Lukenbill: Socially, technically, economically, and politically and if you can get those things in alignment, you can make just about anything happen as long as you have a clear vision and the perseverance to stick with it.

New Valley is brought to you by the following sponsors:

Williams + Paddon, architects, planners, people. Providing architecture, planning and interior design for corporate, institutional and educational clients. Design services for a sustainable future.

VSP is a proud leader of Partnership for Prosperity, working together to create a shared business agenda that enriches our quality of life.

Committed to the community, Five Star Bank recognizes the importance of this collaboration toward local empowerment and continued prosperity for the capital region. Five Star Bank is a proud sponsor of New Valley.

Treasure Homes is proud to support New Valley in an effort to build better communities and encourage smarter business practices. Fallen Leaf at River Bend in Natomas is an example of Treasure Homes commitment to energy efficient homes that promote clean energy and enhance the quality of life throughout the Sacramento region.