Archive for the ‘Rivertown’ Category

Mayor, councilwoman, interim city manager take annual Antioch Juneteenth celebration from young African-American organizer

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

East County 2022 Juneteenth flier promoting the event in Brentwood.

And committee of 11 other African American Antioch residents to make it “bigger and better”; two councilmembers decry action; after city withdraws permit Claryssa Wilson, daughter of a Thorpe recall proponent, relocates her event to Brentwood; Antioch’s event might move to Williamson Ranch Park, Celebrate Antioch Foundation no longer involved, will continue to support Wilson’s event; questions go unanswered

Claryssa Wilson. Source: her Facebook page posted on March 8, 2022.

By Allen D. Payton

With a little over two months before the planned and promoted annual Antioch Juneteenth Celebration, Mayor Lamar Thorpe, District 1 Councilwoman Tamisha Torres-Walker and Interim City Manager Con Johnson decided to take the event from Claryssa Wilson, the young African-American college student who has organized it for the past two years. Johnson had Director of Parks and Recreation Brad Helfenberger give Wilson the news that the City was withdrawing the permit for the event planned for Waldie Plaza in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. She in turn passed the information on to her committee of 11 other African-American Antioch residents, including her mother Velma and Antioch School Board Trustee Dr. Clyde Lewis.

According to Velma, Johnson said it would now be a city event and wanted it “planned by the African-American community”.

Juneteenth honors the day the slaves in Texas were informed by the Union Army on June 19, 1865 that they were free, two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation on Jan. 1, 1863. It has become a worldwide event celebrated in the U.S. and other countries.

This year’s event in Antioch was included as one of the City’s Sesquicentennial events sponsored and promoted by the Celebrate Antioch Foundation (CAF), which has served as the Juneteenth committee’s fiscal agent. While CAF is no longer involved in the Antioch event, the organization will continue to support Wilson’s event which has been relocated to Brentwood and rebranded as the East County Juneteenth Celebration.

Velma Wilson said the decision was made in a meeting attended by Thorpe, Torres-Walker, Johnson and Helfenberger. The Wilsons were invited to attend a later organizing meeting held in April, but they declined. Who attended that meeting hasn’t been shared. Velma has been an outspoken opponent of Thorpe, supporting his recall as one of the 20 proponents. (See related article)

Two Councilmembers Decry City Action

During the April 12th meeting, District 3 Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock decried the action taking the event away from Claryssa saying, “We as council have made youth a priority. We have a beautiful, African American young woman that’s grown up in our community that’s created events such as Stuff the Bus and Juneteenth. Now, we as a city, are taking this event from her. Her name is Claryssa Wilson. She created the Juneteenth event here, in the city. It started small but it’s actually grown greatly in size. I’m not sure why we want to take this event away from her. The interim city manager has directed our recreation department director, Brad Helfenberger to take it over. I would ask that stop and allow it to go back to Miss Claryssa Wilson. Nobody else in the city wanted to participate to help create this event. So, I’m gonna ask that that be stopped. Thank you.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Barbanica echoed Ogorchock’s sentiments..

“Probably two hours before the meeting, I learned of Miss Wilson not having the Juneteenth,” he said. “I’m not sure what caused that. But over the next week I will speak to the interim city manager and have a conversation about that. I do support her doing this. She’s done it for several years. I’ve attended her event. She’s put on a very good event.”

Claryssa Wilson Not Happy

On Monday, April 18 in an interview with Claryssa Wilson she said, “It was already planned. This will be the third one. The first one was in 2020 on Thomas Gaines’ land.” She had previously served as the co-host for the 2016 Antioch Juneteenth Celebration.

“I was pulled into it after my mom was notified,” Claryssa continued, explaining how the event was taken from her. “I was on the phone with my mom and Brad Helfenberger. He called us. He basically just expressed that the city wanted to expand on Juneteenth and said with the expansion, he used the phrase ‘making it bigger and better’. He stated that he wanted to invite me to be around the table with a host of other African Americans in the community who wanted to come together and put on the event.”

Asked if they wanted to put on the event with her, she replied. “No, being I’m the one who has been planning and hosting it. He said it wouldn’t be an event where one person was getting the credit.”

Original flier promoting the Antioch Juneteenth event posted on the Celebrate Antioch Foundation Facebook page on March 5, 2022.

“I asked him what that meant. Did that mean I was no longer going to be hosting it or leading the meeting or collaborating or leaving me out of it?” Claryssa shared. “He was basically saying that they wanted me to be there and share the plans I already had in place for this year’s Juneteenth then they would decide how to expand on it.”

“He later included some people in an email with an initial event. I didn’t receive the email,” Claryssa stated. “My mom did and asked Brad why I wasn’t included. He said he didn’t have my email address. She (Velma) also said ‘the meetings would have to be done virtually since Claryssa is in college in San Diego’.”

Regarding Grace Bible Fellowship Claryssa said, “We tried to work with them, last year to collaborate. But they chose to have their own event.”

“I was already working on Plan B before the meeting because I didn’t appreciate them wanting to take all the work I’ve done and not give me any jurisdiction over anything regarding the event,” Claryssa said. “I didn’t end up attending the meeting because I felt it wasn’t going to be productive and I was going to be strong armed and give up all my information, so they don’t have to start from scratch.”

“If you guys are so willing to take on this event two months before…” she continued, sharing her thoughts. “I kept asking Brad if the City wanted to take it over or collaborate. His response was that the City recognizes this is an important event and wants to expand it.”

Asked if anyone from CAF had spoken with her, Claryssa said, “We’ve all communicated. Celebrate Antioch has been the fiscal agent since we first started, providing the insurance and we raise funds through their non-profit. Then they pay everything, the entertainment. What’s bothersome to them as well, CAF’s argument is why didn’t anyone come to us and then where the event is going to take place other than Waldie Plaza?”

“Joy, Michael and Tammy of Celebrate Antioch said whatever I decide to do they will support me,” she added.

“Plan B” Relocates Claryssa’s Event to Brentwood

Asked what her “Plan B” is and is she moving forward on it Claryssa responded, “The plan is to move it outside of Antioch. Brentwood was the first to say they’d take it on. I’ve been working with both residents and city officials. We’ve gotten our permits filled out and they’re supposed to be approving them, this week.” The event has since been approved.

“It’s very unfortunate,” Claryssa continued. “I believe the Juneteenth celebration has been a benefit to the city of Antioch. Ours is now being rebranded as an East County Juneteenth. It will be located at City Park next to the Brentwood City Hall.”

“So, we’re reaching out to all the cities in East County to make this a bigger event, including Pittsburg, and Oakley, too. But because it’s so late in the game I can’t say the other cities are supporting it, yet,” she added, saying that may have to wait until next year.

Claryssa said she’s studying Africana Studies and minoring in Counseling and Social Change and in her Junior year at San Diego State University.

Velma Wilson Disappointed Says Who Made the Decision

Velma Wilson offered additional details about what occurred and her disappointment.

“Con said we were welcome at the meeting, but we said, ‘no’,” she shared. “Con responded that it’s now a city event.”

“Claryssa has been planning this for a year and we have contracts in place,” Velma stated. “Joy (Motts, president of CAF) sent an email to Con who said, ‘this should be something planned by the African-American community’.”

“Brad said Lamar, Tamisha and Con gave him a directive that the city is going in a different direction,” Velma continued. “It would be a city-sponsored event. Joy asked if the city is going to pay for it and Brad said he would be submitting a budget revise for any additional costs. But they didn’t know what that was.”

Email From Velma Wilson Offers More Details

In an email sent to an Antioch service club member on April 30 and copying 25 others, including the Herald, Velma Wilson wrote, “The Let Freedom Ring: Antioch Juneteenth Celebration information that was sent to you on April 6th is no longer valid. We were notified after this information was emailed to you and a few individuals, by Brad who is the Parks and Rec Director that he was given a directive by Lamar Thorpe, Tamisha Torres-Walker and Con Johnson that the ‘city wants to go in a different direction by having the event planned by African American community members to make the event bigger and better’.

The event planning for this event has been underway for almost a year as Claryssa who is an African American youth started the initial plans with a committee that has other African American community members involved in addition to the partnership with the Celebrate Antioch Foundation because we have been with Celebrate Antioch for 10 years. The event plans started immediately following last year’s VERY successful event. No one gave my daughter the respect of contacting her prior to such a directive but we move forward.

Therefore, the Let Freedom Ring: Antioch Juneteenth Celebration that Claryssa was organizing with the support of Celebrate Antioch Foundation has been Rebranded to reflect all of East Contra Costa County and has been relocated accordingly. If the (organization’s name deleted) would like to participate please submit a new request to EastCountyJuneteenth@gmail.com as the vendor spaces are almost full as of today. For additional questions, feel free to contact me or Claryssa.”

Questions for Thorpe, Torres-Walker, City Staff and CAF Leaders

On Thursday, April 21, an email was sent to Thorpe, Torres-Walker, Johnson, Helfenberger, CAF leaders Joy Motts, Michael Gabrielson and Tammy Larsen, as well as Assistant City Manager Rosanna Bayon-Moore with the following information and questions:

“I’ve been informed by Claryssa and Velma Wilson, that the City is taking over this year’s CAF-sponsored Antioch Juneteenth Celebration as part of the Sesquicentennial activities, wanting to make it ‘bigger and better’.

Is that true? If so, who made the decision, when did it occur and why? If it was Johnson, when did the council give you direction to do that after having approved the budget for this year’s Sesquicentennial events late, last year?

Did the City pull the approved permit for Claryssa and CAF to use Waldie Plaza, as planned and promoted on CAF’s website?

Why take it from an Antioch youth, specifically the one who organized the Juneteenth event for the past two years, and has already done all the planning for this year’s event?

Mayor Thorpe and Councilwoman Torres-Walker, doesn’t that work against your efforts to support the youth of our city? Is that fair and right to do to Claryssa?

Where is the event going to be held, instead of Waldie Plaza if it’s going to be ‘bigger’? How do you plan to make it ‘better’?

Is there adequate time for proper planning with just two months before the event? Or is it being combined with Grace Bible Fellowship’s Juneteenth event?

Was a meeting held about the event, last week? Who was invited and who attended that meeting?”

Additional questions were emailed to Helfenberger on Tuesday, April 26 asking, “what was the decision on this year’s Juneteenth Celebration in Antioch? Is the City’s being combined with Grace Bible Fellowship’s event? Or is the City and CAF not hosting one, now that Claryssa Wilson has moved hers to Brentwood?”

Antioch Event Might Relocate to Williamson Ranch Park, CAF Not Involved Will Support Claryssa’s Event in Brentwood

On Tuesday, May 3, Gabrielson shared about the Juneteenth event in Antioch that, “CAF is not involved, and the city still hasn’t decided location and time as of 11 am, today.”

“I just heard, today they are considering Williamson Ranch (Park) but nothing confirmed,” he added.

If the event is relocated, that will relieve traffic and parking challenges for the Rivertown Father’s Day Car Show, which will be held on W. 2nd and G Streets, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM. It is also promoted by CAF as part of this year’s Sesquicentennial Celebration. It is also sponsored by the Rivertown Merchants.

In addition, Motts shared, “The Celebrate Antioch Foundation Juneteenth event has been changed to the East County Juneteenth and will be held in Brentwood at City Park, 12pm to 5pm. As in past years, CAF members Claryssa and Velma Wilson are the primary organizers of this event.  All amenities, music, entertainment is still in place, but the venue has been moved. We are updating our sites ASAP.”

No responses were received from any of the city officials as of Wednesday, May 4.

Grace Bible Fellowship to Hold Own Juneteenth Event Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18

According to Pastor Kirkland Smith of Grace Bible Fellowship, his church will once again hold their annual Juneteenth Celebration on their grounds over two days, Friday and Saturday, June 17 and 18. They’ve been asked to help with Antioch’s event, which he said they’ll do but in a smaller way on Sunday.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

 

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Sesquicentennial History Walk in Antioch Saturday, May 14

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Dedicated to Antioch historian Charles Bohakel, the Antioch Historical Society will host History Walks downtown as their next contribution to the city’s Sesquicentennial events. Walks at 9:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m. will begin at City Hall, 200 H Street in historic Rivertown on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Lead planner Lucy Meinhardt says the walks will cover approximately one mile and last about 90 minutes. Walkers should wear comfortable shoes and carry their own water. A fee of five dollars will reserve a spot.

Meinhardt plans that the walks will result in a publication enabling folks to take self-guided tours. A simple hand out on the day of these first walks will include a map and a brief listing of all stops. QR codes and links will lead to detailed information on the historical sites. Photos of buildings no longer standing will be shared. The tour will include a brief tour inside the Masonic Lodge Building, originally the historic Belshaw Building. Depending on their popularity, more walks will be offered in the future.

Spots may be reserved either through Eventbrite or by mailing a check for five dollars each to the Antioch Historical Museum, 1500 W. 4th St., Antioch 94509. Please include a note with your name, phone number, and a note referring to the history walks.

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Tickets still available for the Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 7

Friday, April 29th, 2022

Celebrate Antioch Foundation is proud to announce our annual Mother’s Day weekend Rivertown Art & Wine Walk. May 7, 2022, from 12pm – 4pm. This free, fun, family friendly event features art and handmade items from local artisans. Live music featuring JuSusan Austin and The Company Band performing amazing jazz and soul. Dine at one of our 11 downtown restaurants and explore our shops.

To participate in the Wine Walk the fee is $20 to sample up to 14 great local wines. You must be at least 21 years of age and present a valid photo ID.

This event makes a great Mother’s Day gift and you can shop for her gift while enjoying a fun and relaxing atmosphere.

Again, the event is Saturday May 7, from 12pm – 4pm on W. 2nd and G Streets in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown. We look forward to seeing you at the Rivertown Art & Wine Walk.

Tickets are available to purchase on the day of the event or at Eventbrite.com at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/rivertown-art-and-wine-walk-tickets-251713671367

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Annual Rivertown Art & Wine Walk Saturday, May 7

Wednesday, April 20th, 2022

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Chelsea sushi restaurant opens in Antioch’s Rivertown Dining District

Tuesday, April 19th, 2022

Chelsea is located at 625 W. 2nd Street across from El Campanil Theatre. Photo courtesy of Kathy Cabrera.

“I’m happy to be a part of Rivertown and want to make it better” – owner Sam Lee.

By Allen D. Payton

Chelsea sushi restaurant is now open in the Rivertown Dining District in Antioch’s historic downtown. It’s the

second of two locations for owner Sam Lee. The first one is located in downtown Brentwood. The restaurants are named for his daughter.

Lee previously owned Enishi Kitchen in Brentwood but he sold it four years ago, he shared. He’s been in the restaurant business for over 20 years having started out as a dishwasher and busboy.

Asked why he opened in Antioch’s downtown Rivertown Lee said, “my dream has been to open a community restaurant and I love the downtown culture of every city.”

Sushi rolls are the primary dish with their “Chelsea Special”. They also serve a “SF Giants” roll and vegetarian rolls. Lee said he’s still working on developing an Antioch roll and a Rivertown roll.

They also serve sushi which includes rice and sashimi which is raw fish, plus teriyaki entrees, noodles and appetizers including a “Spoonful of Happiness” and “Mango Papaya Salad”.

Chelsea’s Shiso TarTa dish. Photo: Chelsea

Chelsea is another restaurant brought to Rivertown by Sean McCauley.

“Sam is another ‘A’ operator that has entered the Rivertown Dining District. The key to our success down there is not just to get restaurants but proven entrepreneurs,” building owner McCauley said. “He is one of those quality operators that we handpicked.”

“I’m excited to have him part of the Rivertown community,” he added.

Located at 625 W. 2nd Street (in the former coin shop location) the restaurant’s temporary hours are Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 am to 2:30 pm and 4:30-9:00 pm. They’re closed Sunday and Monday.

Chelsea will hold their Grand Opening on Tuesday, April 26.

“I’m happy to be a part of Rivertown and want to make it better,” Lee added.

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

Monday, April 18th, 2022

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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Rivertown Easter Egg-stravaganza Saturday, April 16 in historic, downtown Antioch

Monday, April 4th, 2022

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

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2022

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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