Business Local News

Let’s Start a Bowling Alley!

Ok… let’s talk about vacant commercial properties in Rio Linda for a bit. You can’t “Have a fundraiser to start a bowling alley” in a property if the owner of said property A) Doesn’t have the financial means to manage a location, and B) Doesn’t want to be in the bowling alley business!

These vacant properties have OWNERS. These owners are sitting on the properties because they can’t afford to structurally and/or aesthetically restore the building to attract a tenant business or new owner, AND they are worth more vacant as a tax write off.

The owner of MarVal Plaza is a true slumlord who was once involved in ownership of the Franklin Villa apartments. In 2011 he bought the plaza as an investment for $1.5 million, but has not found a buyer, so he’s letting it decay. It would cost him more to knock it down than to let it rot.

The owners of the old Johnson Electric building (Buttonworks) are sitting on the property as a tax write off. They recently rejected an offer on the property, as is their right.

The owner of Archway Hardware and Auto Supply is sitting on the property as a tax write off. That building will never re-open. It will have to be razed, mainly because the back wall sits right on the property line and there’s a property dispute with the owner behind. It would also need a ton of work to bring it up to current code standards. By the way, this is the same owner that owns the vacant lot behind Granite’s (Frosty) and wants to put a concrete, tilt-up strip mall (Century Palms project) on that property.

Archway Hardware
We, as citizens, have no legal standing to tell these people what to do with their property. The County can’t tell them what to do with their property, unless they want to exert eminent domain and buy the properties, which costs money, which the County doesn’t spend in Rio Linda as we all very well know.

Rio Linda is in a bad place right now. We don’t like the treatment we receive as a community from Sacramento County, and we don’t have the financial resources (tax base) to support incorporation. We’re stuck.

This is why, even though I’m a big supporter of limited change and small-town Rio Linda, I support the Elverta Specific plan. To have financial growth in a community, you need jobs. Jobs are created by businesses. Businesses need customers. I see no reason for new businesses to open in Rio Linda UNLESS there are new customers. The Elverta Specific plan will put 4500 new homes north of Rio Linda, with a lot of new customers driving down Dry Creek Road.

sac_001517One big issue for our community is that we don’t have a strong, singular voice to stand up for Rio Linda with the County and demand we get the services we need. Our RLE Recreation and Parks District administrator, Dave Wiggington, is surprised at how often our community is ignored by the County. He’s said before that he’s seen smaller communities than RL/E that have much better services.

In order to get those services, someone needs to bulldog Sacramento County. The Rio Linda Chamber of Commerce is silent. As manager at A-1 Storage, I’m a member of the Chamber, and I haven’t heard from them for months. No email, no phone call… I don’t even know if they still have meetings. The Rio Linda Visions group formed from the ashes of the Rio Linda Visions Plan Task Force, and the people involved are responsible in some way or another for the Centennial Celebration, The Country Faire and weekly Farmer’s Markets.

These issues with the absentee property owners, and many other quality of life issues are discussed at the Visions meetings every month. It doesn’t cost anything but time and effort.

The world is run by those who show up.

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