The Aggie Square team is committed to working closely with people in our surrounding neighborhoods to better understand and address community concerns. In addition to meeting regularly with our Partnership Advisory Council and Community Engagement Advisory Committee, we give presentations to and take questions from neighborhood associations, business and civic groups, media, faculty, and staff.
Aggie Square Planning Director Bob Segar attended a meeting of the Oak Park Neighborhood Association on Feb. 6, 2020 to give an update on the project and take questions. Representatives from Elmhurst and Tahoe Park neighborhood groups were there as well. The meeting was recorded and video from the meeting is available online. Since there were more questions than time allowed to answer that night, the Aggie Square team agreed to answer remaining questions in writing. Several questions were similar, so we grouped them by issue. Answers can be found below.
We were asked our plans for "addressing homelessness on Stockton Boulevard."
The city of Sacramento leads efforts to address the long-standing challenges of housing and homelessness in local neighborhoods. The Sacramento City Council recently approved a framework to issue $100 million in bonds for housing. Councilmembers Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra are working to dedicate a significant portion of that amount to the Stockton Boulevard Corridor. Aggie Square helps attract real estate developers to the area and underscores the urgency of the challenge.
The city has also spent $27 million in the past year on construction of new shelters, including a 100-bed shelter to serve local neighborhoods scheduled to open in May 2020.
UC Davis Health continues to provide primary and specialty health care services for people who are homeless and other low-income families. Through its partnership with Sacramento County, UC Davis Health has expanded primary care services at its primary care center located at Broadway and Stockton Boulevard.
UC Davis Health has provided support over the years to provide care to community members experiencing homelessness. In the past three years, UC Davis Health has contributed more than $6.8 million to support programs that include the Interim Care Program, Whole Person Care/Pathways to Health and Home, and capital improvements for two new navigation centers on Meadowview Road and Alhambra/Broadway.
FOOD SOURCE CLOSURE
Recent announcements that the Food Source supermarket in Oak Park would soon close prompted people to ask if UC Davis bought the property or was involved in some way. We were not involved. UC Davis did not purchase the Food Source property.
UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF DEVELOPMENT
Several people asked about the potential for displacement that additional development may bring to the area. For example, one question was "How will UC Davis reduce displacement caused by increased cost of living and housing costs associated with the Aggie Square project's implementation?"
The pressures of displacement have been felt in our neighborhoods for years now and we know people need relief. We have an obligation to bring jobs and development with local priorities in mind.
This is why UC Davis’ partnership with the city of Sacramento is so critical to Aggie Square’s development. Each partner plays to its strengths to ensure inclusive economic development. The university attracts jobs to the area and provides skills necessary for people to fill those jobs. Aggie Square will include a housing project, focused on students, to absorb some of the demand the project generates. The city drives investment in affordable housing.
The Sacramento City Council recently approved a framework to issue $100 million in bonds for housing. Councilors Jay Schenirer and Eric Guerra are working to dedicate a significant portion of that amount to the Stockton Boulevard Corridor. City leaders also are directly engaging real estate developers, bringing them to Stockton Boulevard and discussing what it takes to build here. The university has played a supportive role by describing its commitment to Sacramento and Aggie Square.
UC Davis is leveraging its status as a global research powerhouse to attract more companies to the area.
UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) will lead the university’s job-training efforts. For example, CPE is already working with the Institute for Regenerative Cures and private life sciences companies to develop a certificate program in stem cell development. This training will be available to local high school graduates, giving new life sciences companies in Aggie Square the confidence they need to hire local graduates of the program.
By identifying industries and companies now, CPE can get specific training programs in place when Aggie Square is built.
We are not acting alone. California State University, Sacramento and Los Rios Community College District are working with UC Davis as part of the Mayor’s Workforce Collective, identifying the skills people in Sacramento will need to get and keep higher-wage jobs, and then developing the programs to provide those skills.
Aggie Square is also leveraging UC Davis’ strengths to address community needs across the spectrum. For example, Aggie Square has convened experts in medicine, education, agriculture and dietary science to examine food security issues in local neighborhoods. In January, UC Davis announced a collaboration with chef and food advocate Alice Waters for The Alice Waters Institute for Edible Education, which will work with the UC Davis School of Education to improve the quality of school lunches in Sacramento and beyond.
The complexity of these challenges requires partnerships across the spectrum — universities, other educational partners, government, neighborhood groups, and nonprofits.
HEALTH CARE FOR UNDERSERVED POPULATIONS
We were asked, "Will there be a medical clinic for the underserved area?"
UC Davis Health provides primary and specialty health care services for our medically underserved population. Through its partnership with Sacramento County, UC Davis Health has expanded primary care services at its primary care center located at Broadway and Stockton Boulevard.
PRIVATE VS. PUBLIC COSTS
We were asked, "Please describe the funding plans for Aggie Square," and specifically asked to break down public vs. private funding. Aggie Square’s construction is fueled by private investment. A private real estate developer will pay a lease to build on university-owned land. The university and other partners will lease space in the building.
We were asked, "Will UC Davis and other businesses on (the Sacramento) campus be required to use vendors (small businesses) in the surrounding neighborhoods?"
We want to source locally as much as possible. We are working with city government and business leaders to identify more opportunities for local firms, because this often increases quality while reducing cost. It also boosts the local economy.
As part of this commitment to supporting local and small businesses, UC Davis is holding a Diverse Supplier Expo on March 26 at 10 a.m. in the Activities and Recreation Center on the main campus. More information is online at https://supplychain.ucdavis.edu/procure-contract/diversity-expo.
Another important example of this is the UC Davis Health food and nutrition services department, which has more than doubled the percentage of local and sustainable food purchases since 2016.
PROGRAMS AT AGGIE SQUARE'S LIFELONG LEARNING BUILDING
We were asked about the occupants of "the IT building," which we assume was the office/classroom tower we call the Lifelong Learning building.
This will be the new home for UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education, the workforce training flagship for the university. It will also be home to the UC Davis Office of Public Scholarship and Engagement, which focuses on research, teaching and learning that engages the public and has a broader impact. Additionally, the building will have modern classroom and office space for private companies, university and partner ventures, and business incubation/acceleration experts.
We received several questions related to parking. One person asked, "How many new spaces will be created before Aggie Square and how many after?"
Aggie Square is part of a larger plan for growth at the Sacramento campus. We have existing plans for a replacement parking structure near the hospital to address the parking spaces lost due to construction. UC Davis is also implementing a comprehensive transportation demand management (TDM) program to reduce reliance on single-occupant vehicles on the Sacramento campus. This includes more shuttles, the Causeway Connection bus route, ride-share programs, increased use of light rail, opportunities for telecommuting, and more space for bicycles and pedestrians.
We will create more parking spaces in the new structure than the number of spaces we lose to Aggie Square construction. We are still determining the exact number — designs have not been finalized, and they need to be approved by the UC Board of Regents.
Aggie Square will also be accompanied by a new parking structure to accommodate new demand.
AGREEMENTS WITH COMMUNITIES
We were asked about developing a "community benefits agreement" with the city and/or other organizations in the community. Our approach with the city has been a working partnership that plays to each entity’s strengths and reflects community priorities. We will continue to pursue meaningful, measurable outcomes with community leaders and the city.
One question asked why the real estate developer working with Aggie Square was "outsourced."
This project will rely heavily on the local workforce for construction jobs. The developer team was selected through a public, competitive process. They have a unique track record of success constructing the type of project UC Davis wants to create, and a stable, verifiable source of private funding.
We were asked if we have plans for preserving or restoring the historic Governor's Hall building. We are examining the site now to assess the viability of restoring Governor’s Hall for use as a performing arts space and for conferences and meetings. If we determine the site could operate on a break-even budget for these uses, UC Davis will seek to raise money for the restoration.
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING
We were asked several questions about training and jobs for local residents. One example: "Can you talk about how you are coordinating workforce development initiatives with planning and development of Aggie Square?"
UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education (CPE) leads UC Davis’ workforce training efforts, and Aggie Square will be its new home. CPE is designing new career development and training programs for the companies UC Davis recruits to Aggie Square and the rest of the Sacramento campus.
For example, CPE is already working with the Institute for Regenerative Cures and private life sciences companies to develop a certificate program in stem cell development. Once established, this training will be available to local workers, and new life sciences companies in Aggie Square will have the confidence they need to hire local graduates of the program.
We are not acting alone. California State University, Sacramento and Los Rios Community College District are working with UC Davis as part of the Mayor’s Workforce Collective, identifying the skills people in Sacramento will need to get and keep higher-wage jobs and then developing the programs to provide those skills.
Additionally, UC Davis has held a number of job fair events and local talks in the area to provide information about current openings and how to apply. For example, UC Davis Talent Acquisition held a job talk in January 2020 with the Employment Development Department and Sacramento Food Bank discussing strategies about how to stand out as an applicant, as well as the benefits of starting your career with us.
Several questions focused on how members of the community are involved in decisions related to Aggie Square.
We meet regularly with two specific community-focused groups. The Partnership Advisory Council is co-chaired by UC Davis Chancellor May and Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. It consists of elected officials and civic and business leaders and neighborhood association representatives. The Community Engagement Advisory Committee includes representatives from neighborhood associations, local leaders, and rank-and-file employees of UC Davis Health and UC Davis.
We hold regular “open house” meetings as well — all are welcome, and we are open to any suggestion community members have.
To learn more about committee representation or when open house meetings are scheduled, visit the Aggie Square website at https://aggiesquare.ucdavis.edu.
We were asked if the project would still be built "If we go into a recession and state funds dry up, private investment falls through, or Sacramento city funds dry up."
Aggie Square’s construction is fueled by private investment. The private developer was chosen through a public process in part based on its access to a stable and verified source of financing.
Aggie Square’s construction will occur in phases, in part to mitigate economic uncertainty. Phase one construction is planned to begin in mid-2021.