Opinion: Rio Linda Bridges?

A few months back, Supervisor Sue Frost held an open meeting for the business and property owners of the Downtown Rio Linda central business district. To this meeting she brought a paid consultant who gave a presentation on how the Downtown Rio Linda Business District could revamp and revitalize itself, and small things businesses can do to attract more people to the area and consequently, more business.

Out of this came the idea that an organization should form, a new local organization, to focus on the Downtown Rio Linda area. As of last month, that organization became known as Rio Linda BRIDGES.

(The way it’s presented to me is that BRIDGES is an “acrostic”, standing for “Bringing downtown Rio Linda together through Imagination to create a Destination town through Grassroots efforts continuing Successful businesses”. Which is both a mouthful and grammatically questionable, but we’ll move on.)

Sherri Hart, the leader of this group was absent. The meeting was guided by Tina Barclay, a staffer at Supervisor Sue Frost’s office.

Many things were discussed, such as Placing an ad in the newspaper, a field trip to other downtown areas in the region, a project to paint the trash cans owned by the Parks District, a promotional flyer, a few other things that either never got traction or interest.

To me it felt like wasted time, energy and opportunity.

We have dozens of well established local organizations in this community who do amazing work and have completed some spectacular projects. Think of groups like the Lions, and the Country Faire, and VISIONS. Over the past few years VISIONS have created the wildly successful Christmas Light Parade, hosted a County Supervisor’s candidate forum and gotten the lights installed on the arch. They’ve also been holding Business Mixers to bring the local business community together, which have been held at local businesses such as Gregory Realty Group, Creekside Diner, Rio Pub and Tummy’s. They constantly pushed the County on the Mar Val Plaza issue, and now the largest previously vacant commercial property in the area is in the midst of a renaissance with a new fitness center, Papa’s Pizza, Property Sisters and The Creamery coming back to our downtown.

Of course the crowning achievement of the VISIONS group (with the help of former Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan) is the passing of the Rio Linda Downtown Special Planning Area amendment, which gives us a blueprint forward to maintain and build on the rural western charm of our downtown.

VISIONS prides itself on bringing the community together. Certainly, even the motto says “Working Together for the Entire Community”.  Among the members of the VISIONS organization are members of the Chamber, the Lions, the Country Fair, The RLECWD board, the RLERPD board, the Food Closet, local churches and business owners. People who have willingly volunteered their time, money and labor to help make Rio Linda and Elverta a better place to live, promote our local merchants and build our local economy.

Why create an entirely new group from the ground up do accomplish what VISIONS has been doing for years?

I don’t know, but I wish them success and I hope to see them working collaboratively with our previously established groups for the betterment of the entire community.

Rio Linda BRIDGES meets on the first Monday of each month at 1:30pm. The meetings are held at the Depot Visitors Center in Downtown Rio Linda.





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