City pays to survey residents, negotiations on sale of downtown parcels, lumber company lot resume, Duran defends marketing video

A rendering of the proposed, new look for an event center at Waldie Plaza in Antioch's downtown, Rivertown in a screenshot from the City's new marketing video.

A rendering of the proposed, new look for an event center at Waldie Plaza in Antioch’s downtown, Rivertown in a screenshot from the City’s new marketing video.

By Allen Payton

Antioch residents have been getting phone calls over the last few weeks and asked to participate in a survey about issues affecting the city. Individuals have been commenting on social media wondering who was behind it. Some thought it might be the city, others speculated it might be City Ventures, the developer with whom city staff has been negotiating the sale of nine parcels in downtown, which are owned by the city. One of those parcels is the old lumber company lot.

“It’s ours,” City Manager Steve Duran admitted in a phone interview on Wednesday, August 3, 2016. “The survey is on all issues: crime, blight, homelessness, economic development…the whole issue of housing and the [downtown] event center on that site.”

The city did it “to help us with the messaging,” he continued.

The survey lasted about 15 minutes according to those who had been called and participated.

“It cost a little over $30,000,” Duran stated. “It’s a long one. It surveyed 500 people in English and 200 in Spanish. We wanted to get a good statistical sampling.”

Asked about the cost and length of the survey, Duran responded.

“If you’re going to go out with a survey, you want to get as much information as possible,” he added. “We’ll begin getting results probably next week.”

Asked if city staff will release the results of the survey to the public, Duran said he wasn’t sure. But, if so it will be after they provide it to the council members. He said he’ll check with the city attorney and get an answer. It’s a public record, so it probably will, Duran added.

A screenshot of the proposed townhomes on the old lumber company lot, aka "The Yard" from the City of Antioch's new promotional video.

A screenshot of a rendering of the proposed town homes on the old lumber company lot, aka “The Yard” from the City of Antioch’s new marketing video.

Sale of Downtown City-Owned Parcels

The city staff’s negotiations with the City Ventures for the sale of the downtown parcels have resumed, now that the initiative effort for a park and event center on the lumber company lot, known as “The Yard” failed to gather the necessary signatures to place it on the ballot.

“We were waiting for the initiative on the yard to be decided,” Duran said.

Asked if the city could have sold the other eight parcels, and deal with the old company lot, later, he responded, “That’s the key parcel. It’s the biggest and best housing parcel.”

So, it didn’t make sense to move forward with just the other, smaller eight parcels.

He didn’t offer a date for when the proposed sale would be brought to the council for a decision.

Marketing Video

Duran also touched on the video the city paid to produce, to help promote the community and specifically the downtown, to outside interests.

“You want to put your best foot forward,” he stated. “It’s a vision of where we want to be.”

Some residents have been critical of the video for painting too positive of a picture of the community.

“We know we have some work to do,” Duran shared. “But you don’t go out pointing out the negatives.”

UPDATE, 8/5/16:

In an email response to later questions about the cost of and approval for the video, Duran wrote, “We contracted for two videos at $19,000. One is not done yet.  So that’s about $9,500 per video. The Council does not approve our marketing materials, so they did not approve the videos. The Council did not approve the survey.”

“My contractual approval authority is $50,000 per contract,” he continued. “The City Council approved the City’s budget and staff implements the City’s strategic plan within the approved budget.  Contracts over $50,000 are taken to the City Council for approval.  This is pretty standard practice for cities.”

A link to the four-minute video is available on the city’s website or can be viewed on YouTube by clicking here.

the attachments to this post:

Waldie Plaza 1


7 Comments to “City pays to survey residents, negotiations on sale of downtown parcels, lumber company lot resume, Duran defends marketing video”

  1. Connie Komar says:

    I’m wondering did the council approve this video? seriously Lori, Mary, Monica, Tony?? And Wade you don’t count because you have no taste. Do you all know that people say your all scared of Duran? This whole thing is so sad. Duran will be gone & we will be left with this mess. We need new people in the council & mayor seat, can’t wait till your gone because you don’t care what the citizens of Antioch want, well we don’t want you! SAVE THE YARD!!!

  2. Eric A. says:

    That video is so out of touch with reality, it’s not even funny.

  3. karl dietzel says:

    its not just the cost of the video, how about the cost of the survey? how much tax money was spend, and who authorized it? any council discussion ? when was it on a agenda?

    • Publisher says:

      The cost of the survey was about $30,000.
      I didn’t ask Duran about the cost of the video. But, I will.
      I’m sure that’s part of the economic development budget the council approved.
      Allen Payton, Publisher

  4. Don Bright says:

    It seems that the city of Antioch has gone to great lengths and expense to circumvent the will of the people. Over 5100 signatures were submitted to the city just to allow a vote on the future of the Beede lot. That vote opportunity was stolen. I can not trust our local government at this time so why would I trust their $30,000 survey? Good luck to all of us in the future!

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