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Cesar Chavez Plaza to Undergo Extensive Renovations

Sacramento, California, January 28, 2000 - For more than a century the principal civic square for downtown Sacramento has been the town square located between 9th and 10th streets, and I and J streets, now named Cesar Chavez Plaza. The plaza has been the focal point for Sacramento, drawing more than 130,000 people per year to various community activities, including the Farmers' Market, music concerts, and community rallies.

Through funding from the Cal EPA construction project, located across the street from Cesar Chavez Plaza, $1 million has been allocated to renovate, enhance, and return Sacramento's town square more closely to its classical historic design. More than 148 new trees, ranging in size from 8 to 12 feet, will be planted throughout the plaza. Approximately 22 existing trees that are diseased, in declining health, or were planted inappropriately in the plaza will be removed to make way for the renovation; some of these will be relocated to other City parks.

"I'm saddened that the late Mayor Joe Serna, my friend and colleague, isn't here to see the Cesar Chavez Plaza project come to fruition," said Mayor Jimmie Yee. "Joe always said, and I agree, that the renovation of the plaza is very important because it's the focal point for all the people of Sacramento."

Other renovations include a new circular paved walkway lined with trees; new stage; refurbished fountain, new irrigation system; and new sod. The original historical monuments of the plaza will be preserved, including the Coleman Fountain and A.J. Stevens Monument. The restaurant, which sits on the grounds of the plaza, will be unaffected by the renovation and remain open to the public.


The Sacramento Tree Foundation says the renovations will dramatically increase the tree canopy of the plaza. "The plaza will become lush and green," said Ray Trethway, executive director of the Sacramento Tree Foundation, whose organization was deeply involved in the planning process for the plaza's renovation. "The renovations will result in more shade, more cooling, and more people friendly than ever before."

Over the last 18 months the City of Sacramento has worked in concert with the community to discuss and develop a focused renovation plan for the plaza. In early 1998, the City Council appointed a special committee comprised of community members and City staff, and held a community workshop in the fall of 1998. By the spring of 1999, a second community workshop was held with the community, resulting in a plan that was approved by the City Council this past November.

"It's absolutely refreshing to be involved with this wonderful project," said Karolyn Simon, chairperson of the Citizens Advisory Committee for the City's Parks Division. "Our committee, which is comprised of citizens, provided input and guidance from the very beginning to the very end. What Sacramentans and visitors to Cesar Chavez Plaza will see when the stroll through or have lunch is a town square that is calming, beautiful, and specifically designed for community gatherings."

The contractor assigned to the renovation, John F. Otto Construction, has begun preliminary work on Cesar Chavez Plaza. The landscape architect for the project, Quadriga, has completed landscape renderings for the project. In addition, the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission has commissioned a sculptor to create a statue of Cesar Chavez. Completion date for Cesar Chavez Plaza is May 2000.

For further information about the Cesar Chavez Plaza renovation, please contact Sue Akiyama at 264-7730, or Roy Tatman at 264-5326.