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Sutter Street looking ahead

Guest column
By: Murray Weaver, Powerhouse Pub
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Although Historic Folsom is by no means void of entertaining activities, events and venues, the upcoming multi-million dollar streetscape revitalization aims to put Sutter Street squarely on the map as a top-notch shopping and entertainment destination. Currently known for its quaint shops, nightlife, antique fairs, Christmas celebration and music festival, “Folsom Live” – Sutter Street is a “natural” for a variety of festivities. That fact was born out by city hired consultant C.B. Richard Ellis who after an extensive study determined the key to revitalization for Sutter St is a vibrant art and entertainment district comprising mixed uses attracting day shoppers and nightlife aficionados alike. As other districts can attest, the growing pains associated with this evolution need to be addressed in a co-operative and comprehensive effort to achieve the desired goal. For instance, mid town Sacramento has seen a huge increase in clubs, bars and restaurants in a relatively small area inevitably accompanied by noise and revelry – sometimes to the consternation of nearby residences. This scenario, played out in cities and towns all over requires the partnering of police, business owners and residencies. Sacramento City manager Ray Kerridge says “ I think we want midtown to be a vibrant place where people can go get a good meal and entertainment. … If I live in midtown or downtown, there’s an expectation that there’s going to be some hustle and bustle.” Sacramento Police Sergeant Matt Young said, “On the whole, the nightlife upswing has been positive” and “fantastic for this city.” “The city has not assigned more police to midtown to handle the larger number of visitors”, he said. “Instead, it has reorganized, creating an entertainment team to address night life related problems.” Like Sacramento, Folsom’s property owners have recently passed a “Business Improvement District” (BID). This “self assessment” can be used for cleaning, safety service, maintenance and marketing. Also a growing number of Sutter St bars have formed a “Nightlife Entertainment Team” to proactively address ways and means of creating a desirable evening environment. Their extensive hit list includes: 1. Safety Enhancements a. Lighting – Street, buildings, parking lots and dark spots b. Outdoor cameras c. Uniformed security presence – FPD and private d. 2 a.m. – clearing the neighborhood 2. Business Practices – (Not all measures are for every business) a. Music selection, advertising b. Dress codes c. Cover charges d. Doormen training e. Over serving prohibition f. Early closing g. Block clean-up h. ID procedures and computer ID scanners i. Shared information of “bad guys”, common “86” list j. Signage As all the stake holders come together a workable formula will be put in place so coming nighttime entities like the steakhouse and bar at Doug Scalzi’s development in the 600 block and the future restaurants at Jerry Bernau’s development in the 900 block will take their place in a managed, co-operative, safe entertainment district. There are currently about 20 businesses in and around Sutter Street that stay open after dark and more are on the way. As Johnny Cash said during his famous visit here, “I hear the train a comin’.” So do the conductors of Folsom and they are making sure Sutter Street is a first-rate stop.