Antioch Council to consider contract for Rivertown Gateway sign during Tuesday meeting

Rendering of the proposed Rivertown Gateway Sign. Source: Antioch Public Works

Will cost $237,000; challenges to location; downtown business owners not consulted

By Allen D. Payton

A new sign is planned for one entrance to Antioch’s historic, downtown Rivertown and the council will consider approving the construction contract for it at their meeting Tuesday night. The design for the Rivertown Gateway Sign was chosen by the council, last year. But it’s proposed location across W. 2nd Street at E Street has drawn some questions and opposition.

According to the city staff report on the item, “The work shall consist of construction of a new internally illuminated, two-sided Rivertown gateway sign. Additional work shall include, but not be limited to, demolition, earthwork, grading, cast in place reinforced concrete, concrete flatwork and removal and replacement of brick pavers, installation of electrical facilities, brick veneer, temporary facilities and traffic control.”

The cost of $237,297.53 will require an increase in the amount of $40,000 from the Streets Division General Fund and $40,000 from the General Fund for a total increase of $80,000 from what was previously approved by the city council.

While no rendering or location map of the sign are included in the council’s agenda packet, they can be seen on the Public Works Department’s plans page of the city’s website.

Proposed Rivertown Gateway Sign location across W. 2nd Street on the west side of E Street. Source: City of Antioch Public Works.

Questions for City Staff Last May

Public Works Director John Samuelson was sent an email on May 24, 2021 asking, “who is handling the Rivertown Landmark signs, please?” He responded the next day with, “Scott Buenting is the Project Manager for the Rivertown Landmark sign and RSM Design is assisting with the design of the sign.”

An email was then sent to Samuelson, that same day, copying Buenting, then City Manager Ron Bernal and Assistant City Manager Roseann Bayon Moore asking, “Scott, Can you please follow up with me on the Rivertown Landmark signs, such as design and locations? Has the council already decided on where they will be placed? I’ve been told by a Rivertown business owner that they will be arched signs across A Street at W. 6th Street, G Street and L Street and/or W. 4th Street, which would be great.  But I didn’t see anything that looked like that in the new wayfinding sign program presentation during the April 13 council meeting. – Antioch-Citywide-Sign-Program-presentation.pdf (antiochherald.com) If you have a proposed design of the landmark signs you can share, that would be appreciated.”

Samuelson replied, “The design and possible location(s) of landmark signs is still be[ing] developed.”

Another email was sent to the same group with examples of signs and draft designs by this reporter the same day. But no response or further communications about the matter were received since then.

Draft design of arched Rivertown sign with new city logo proposed for three locations submitted to city staff on May 25, 2021. Source: Allen D. Payton

Questions for Council, Staff, Rivertown Business Owners and Leaders for Tuesday’s Meeting

An email was sent Monday afternoon to the council members, city staff, some Rivertown business owners and Joy Motts, who has been leading the effort for the Rivertown Square, park and event center on the former Antioch Lumber Company lot between W. 2nd, W. 3rd and E Streets, asking questions about the new sign.

The Rivertown business owners and Motts, who have been heading up the events in Antioch’s downtown over the past several years, were asked if they were aware of the sign design and location, and if they were asked about it before the council had made any decisions.

Business owner Debbie Blaisure, who helps coordinate the meetings of the Rivertown businesses and leading the efforts for this years’ events in downtown, responded, “No. The City has never run any ideas by the businesses, but they may have contacted Celebrate Antioch or the Chamber, but I highly doubt it. First I’m hearing of this!”

Motts, who is president of Celebrate Antioch Foundation and also an announced candidate for city council in District 1 in the November election, responded, “there were meetings, last year where designs were proposed, discussed and they took public input. Then Council chose a design. But I do not recall there ever being a meeting about placement.”

“I would like to see the landmark sign further up 2nd, either at 2nd where it meets 3rd or 6th and A Street,” she continued. “I brought this item forward when I was on Council, so I am happy to see it come to fruition wherever they decide to place it.”

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock said she wanted an arched sign. But didn’t want it placed at W. 6th and A Streets, due to the first thing people see from there is the empty lot where the homeless gather. Asked if the sign could be relocated there, later, she didn’t think that was possible. Ogorchock also wasn’t happy with the estimated cost for the sign.

In addition, they were asked, “was the decision made to not locate it there because both sides of the street are privately owned, by the Stamm family on the west side and Tom Trost on the east side? If so, was there an effort to obtain easements from each of them, which will definitely serve to benefit Trost’s property and any future development there. Or does the city already own the right(s)-of-way on one or both sides? Either way, can it please be placed at A and W. 6th Streets instead?

Were the design and location already approved by the council? If so, when please? Was the design and location run past the Rivertown business owners for their input, first? Also, will there only be one sign, two or three with another one at the curve of Auto Center Drive and W. 4th Street just south of the Antioch Historical Society Museum, and a third one at L and W. 10th or 6th Streets? Or will that third location wait until L Street widening between W. 10th and 18th Streets is completed?”

No additional responses were received by publication time at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Questions About Other Rivertown Issues Go Unanswered

What progress is being made on renaming A Street to Rivertown Drive, L Street to either Smith’s Landing Way or Veterans Blvd., and possibly W. Second Street to Smith’s Landing Way if L Street is renamed Veterans Blvd.? The idea for Rivertown Drive – which originally was for renaming G Street that, before the on and off-ramps to that street were removed with the widening of Hwy 4 – dates back to the city’s 1996 Economic Development Plan, to serve as permanent marketing for Rivertown on Hwy 4. That’s something that should coincide with this year’s Sesquicentennial Celebration and be approved by the council this year and give property owners, business owners and residents a year to make the switch to the new names by sometime next year.

What is being done to force Mr. Trost to remove that eyesore shanty floating house on his property north of the railroad tracks?

Tom placed it there years ago, he told me, to point out to the council that his property extended under water beyond the railroad tracks and to the end of the piers. The council since approved the Downtown Specific Plan which includes his entire property, including the portion under water. So, it’s long past time it was moved as he made his point and got what he wanted. Plus, that shouldn’t be the first thing people see as they drive into Antioch’s historic downtown. Tom said he doesn’t have the money to move it. That’s not good enough. I’m sure it doesn’t meet city codes for being inhabitable! LOL Seriously, somebody please, take some action. (Only after the sign location is agreed to by Tom if the eastern base requires placement on his property).

No responses were received before publication time at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday.

Antioch Council Meeting Viewing and Public Comments

City Council meetings are televised live on Comcast channel 24, AT&T U-verse channel 99, or live stream at City Council Meeting LIVE – City of Antioch, California (antiochca.gov).

The public has the opportunity to address the City Council on each agenda item. No one may speak more than once on an agenda item or during “Public Comments”.

Members of the public wishing to provide public comments, may do so in one of the following ways (#2 pertains to the Zoom Webinar Platform):

  1. IN PERSON Fill out a Speaker Request Form, available near the entrance doors, and place in the Speaker Card Tray near the City Clerk before the City Council Meeting begins.
  2. VIRTUAL To provide oral public comments during the meeting, please click the following link to register in advance to access the meeting via Zoom Webinar: https://www.antiochca.gov/speakers

You will be asked to enter an email address and a name. Your email address will not be disclosed to the public. After registering, you will receive an email with instructions on how to connect to the meeting.

When the Mayor announces public comments, click the “raise hand” feature in Zoom. For instructions on using the “raise hand” feature in Zoom, visit: https://www.antiochca.gov/raise_hand. When calling into the meeting using the Zoom Webinar telephone number, press *9 on your telephone keypad to raise

your hand. Please ensure your Zoom client is updated so staff can enable your microphone when it is your turn to speak.

Speakers will be notified shortly before they are called to speak. When you are called to speak, please limit your comments to the time allotted (350 words, up to 3 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor).

The City cannot guarantee that its network and/or the site will be uninterrupted.

  1. WRITTEN PUBLIC COMMENT If you wish to provide a written public comment, you may do so in one of the following ways by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting:

(1) Fill out an online speaker card, located at https://www.antiochca.gov/speaker_card,

Or (2) Email the City Clerk’s Department at cityclerk@ci.antioch.ca.us.

Please note: Written public comments received by 3:00 p.m. the day of the City Council Meeting will be shared with the City Council before the meeting, entered into the public record, retained on file by the City Clerk s Office, and available to the public upon request. Written public comments will not be read during the City Council Meeting.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Historic Rivertown arch sign with new city logo


Proposed Rivertown Gateway Sign


Proposed Rivertown Gateway Sign location


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