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City Scene: Folsom's efforts are all about building community

By: Evert Palmer, Folsom City Manager, Special to the Telegraph
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Next month we will celebrate the opening of our Historic District Public Plaza and Amphitheater, the newest additions to the recently revitalized Historic District. The new urban park will be an important anchor to our historic downtown, which has a 150-year history of bringing people together. Over the years, Folsom’s historic downtown has served as a site to gather for business, shopping, dining, entertainment, special events and for a sense of community. In its earliest days, the area was a rail transportation hub and a commercial center during the Gold Rush. Today the area is more inviting than ever due to the recent revitalization that preserved its historic character while enhancing its ambiance and convenient modern features. Our historic downtown is one reason why Folsom is uniquely Folsom. It is an amazing amenity that provides the foundation upon which our sense of community is built. Our downtown anchors us to our region through transportation, to our history through architecture and interpretive features, and to each other as a community gathering place for events including our popular tree lighting, cattle drive, and more. The new plaza is an urban park bounded by Sutter, Leidesdorff, Wool and Reading streets, directly across from the Light Rail Station and adjacent to the Historic District parking structure. The project includes a 300-seat amphitheater, stage with lighting and a plaza built around the historic railroad turntable. Additional landscaping and lighting will be added later this summer. I hope you will join us for the official opening of the Public Plaza and Amphitheater at 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14. The opening coincides with the kick-off of this year’s Second Saturday program. Mayor Kerri Howell and our City Council members will say a few words before turning the stage over to the Mighty Cash Cats, a lively Johnny Cash tribute band. We will have a historic rail car on the turntable, an art walk, entertainment for kids and additional live bands up and down Sutter Street. The district’s unique shops and restaurants will be open for business. When I was appointed City Manager last fall, I was asked what was most important to me. My response was that I believe the City organization is uniquely qualified to engage in community building activities. When conducting our daily business, my staff and I continually ask ourselves, “How will this build community?” We look at the Historic District as a model for other areas of the city. Of course, we realize that this task if not ours alone. Building community takes a community-wide effort. I welcome the active participation of our business, school and community leaders, and the support of all those who attend our community events. Together we can continue building the community of which we are so very proud. Folsom City Manager Evert Palmer can be reached at epalmer@folsom.ca.us.