Antioch Council to consider renaming A Street after city’s first Black resident in the 1800’s instead of Rivertown Drive

During special meeting Tuesday night; also will consider renaming L Street to Veterans Blvd.; when to have the police chief’s 2020 & 2021 annual reports; forming Human Rights and Racial Equity Committee; policy on censuring council members; administrative assistants for council members; three more items – but no votes, just discussions

Thomas Gaines. Source: City of Antioch

By Allen D. Payton

During a special meeting Tuesday night, April 19, 2022, the Antioch City Council will consider renaming A Street to Thomas Gaines Blvd., after the city’s first Black resident in the 1800’s, instead of Rivertown Drive to help promote the historic downtown on the Highway 4 signs. In addition, the council will consider a list of other items for only discussion and direction to staff, each of which would have to be brought back at a future council meeting for vote, except for deciding when to have the police chief’s annual reports for 2020 and 2021. (Please see below)

Rivertown Drive

The city’s 1996 Economic Development Plan included changing G Street to Rivertown Drive for permanent promotion of the city’s historic downtown on the freeway signs, just like renaming the north side of Somersville Road to Auto Center Drive was done to promote the auto dealerships was done for economic development purposes. But when the on-ramps and off-ramps to G Street were removed with the widening of Highway 4 the plan changed to renaming A Street to Rivertown Drive.

Gaines has already been recognized with a day, last year by the city council and with the Thomas Gaines K-8 Virtual Academy by the school board. (See related articles here and here)

Questions for Council, City Staff

The following questions were emailed on Saturday morning to the city council members, interim city manager and Economic Development Director Kwame Reed. However, Reed’s auto response message shows he’s out of the office until Thursday, April 21.

“While naming a street after Thomas Gaines, the city’s first Black resident, is nice, how will renaming A Street accomplish the economic development goal of permanently promoting Rivertown on Hwy 4?”

District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker was asked, “how will that benefit one of the business areas in your district?”

District 4 Councilwoman Monica Wilson was reminded and asked, “the last time this came before the council you said you wanted to survey the residents, first to get their input about renaming A Street. Was that done?”

Additional questions were asked of all seven including, “Has a survey been done of the business and property owners along A Street and in Rivertown to get their input? As someone has suggested, might you instead consider renaming the west side of Laurel Road to Thomas Gaines Blvd. as it’s about to open and connect to Hillcrest and still rename A Street to Rivertown Drive as planned?”

Only Ogorchock Responds

District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock was the only one to respond writing, “I do not know of any surveys that were completed focusing the changing of the name of A St., and or any other street.”

“As to the area west of Laurel, not sure that is befitting,” she continued. “Maybe when and if there is development downtown we should consider naming a street after him or possibly the ‘lot’ if it is ever truly being looked at as a park.  There are a lot of ideas that could work, but all should be in the downtown area.” Ogorchock was referring to the former Antioch Lumber Company lot between W. 2nd, W. 3rd and E Streets where the Rivertown Square park and event center has been proposed.

Agenda Items

  1. CITY OF ANTIOCH HUMAN RIGHTS AND RACIAL EQUITY COMMITTEE
  2. EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER (EOC) TECHNOLOGY UPGRADES
  3. POLICE CHIEF’S REPORT ON 2020 AND 2021 CRIME AND ANTIOCH POLICE DEPARTMENT UPDATE
  4. CREATION OF A BEACH PARK FROM RIVERVIEW LODGE TO THE MARINA (Note: The restaurant, open since November, is now known as Monica’s Riverview).
  5. YOUTH APPRECIATION DAY
  6. VETERANS’ BOULEVARD COMMUNITY PROJECT/ L STREET RENAMING PRESENTATION
  7. NAMING OF NEW STREETS IN DEVELOPMENTS AND NAMING A STREET THOMAS GAINES BOULEVARD
  8. POLICY ON CENSURE OF CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS (TO INCLUDE REMOVAL FROM COMMISSIONS)
  9. ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANTS FOR CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS

Viewing Meeting & 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.

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