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District 1 Update

Jack Duran
WCN
September 2016

Placer Ranch, Regional University and Placer Rescue Mission

It’s something of an economic and social trinity for Placer County. We are working diligently to develop the western edge of the county into an economic and educational powerhouse, but not forgetting that as a society we also need to help all our citizens. 

Placer Ranch, University of Warwick and the Placer Rescue Mission are all projects that will improve our quality of life. All three are making progress and that spells a better future. The area for these three sits in the formerly titled “Sunset Industrial Area,” which is west of the Highway 65 corridor, north of Roseville, south of Lincoln and west of Rocklin on unincorporated county land. 

I’ll start with Placer Ranch. This development makes up about a third of the 8,200-acre Sunset Area, Placer County’s primary locus for economic development. The project stalled when the developer pulled out in early 2015.  However, my office led the charge to pick up the pieces and process the development application as a public-private endeavor, a unique move that shows how critical we believe the project is to both the Sunset Area and Placer’s economic vitality.

We recently approved two contracts that will help this development. The first is to develop environmental project documents. We contracted with the original firm hired by the former developer because the firm has done extensive work on the project; we will save time and money by both not having to replicate work that’s already been done and by bypassing the learning curve that would come with a new company. The second contract is for an assessment of sewer needs and alternatives for the area. Placer Ranch and the entire Sunset Area will need significant back bone infrastructure, but we need to know area needs before we can determine what it will cost.

A key piece of proposed infrastructure that bisects Placer Ranch is Placer Parkway. This will be a thoroughfare that eventually connects Highway 65 with Interstate 5 north of Sacramento. The roadway will help ease traffic at the I-80/Highway 65 interchange. 

In the midst of Placer Ranch are 300 acres for a satellite campus of Sacramento State University. When completed, this campus will eventually support 25,000 students and 5,000 faculty and staff who reside right here in Placer County.

What has been called Regional University will now be University of Warwick. In July, the University announced its first senior academic appointment to its “Warwick in California” partnership with Placer County. Professor Seán Hand will soon be moving to the area to begin the first phase of establishing a comprehensive “University of Warwick in California.” 

Also in July, a Warwick representative updated our board of supervisors on the efforts that will bring the university to Placer County.  Bob Hogg, project manager, said the university is working on building research partnerships and anticipates offering two graduate programs in 2018, with efforts beginning in 2017 to recruit students. As prestigious as the university will be for the area, another impressive factor is the school’s economic benefit. In 10 years, the campus will have an annual economic impact of $600 million.

Sierra College also intends to build a 5,000 student transfer center in this area near Placer Ranch. These three institutions coming to western Placer County will add to the already established William Jessup University and make the area a focal point for higher education.

I also want to point out Placer County’s efforts to address our homeless problem. We recently agreed to permit access to a twelve acre piece of land adjacent to the Santucci Justice Center, to the non-profit Placer Rescue Mission (PRM), for the purpose of a feasibility study for a transitional housing, emergency shelter and a multi-service center project on county owned property in the Sunset Area.  This project hopes to assist the homeless with services to get them back on their feet , housed and contributing to the economy in this wonderful place we call home. 

I’ve talked a lot about the homeless issue in Placer County. It doesn’t go away just because we don’t deal with it. In fact, it gets worse. While I don’t know if this county land will work as a permanent place for housing and treatment, we need to explore possible solutions. It’s our duty and responsibility to do so.

We have great plans and projects in the works for economic development and higher education. These ambitious goals will improve the standard of living in Placer County, but we need to ensure that everyone is lifted as we move forward.  

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to serve you. I always welcome your feedback and can be reached by e-mail at jduran@placer.ca.gov or by phone at 916-787-8950.
 
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