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Capstone's Jared Asch Asks Rick Vaccaro About Fairfield's Downtown Rejuvenation

From episode: Fairfield Councilmember Rick Vaccaro - EPISODE 09 - Hosted by Jared Asch

Talk about the Fairfield Downtown rejuvenation. The Heart of Fairfield Plan is designed to increase people and businesses in the downtown. I think one thing the city's doing is it's making it easier for, you know, people to come in and start like a business, say a small restaurant or a brewery or a coffee shop. I think we provide more impetus for them to come in and other cities. First off our fees are better right now - meaning it's cheaper to enter the market. I think our council truly, is one of the main things that we talk about in our workshops. When I first moved to Fairfield and when I first started coming to Fairfield, Fairfield 41, 42 years ago, my wife was born and raised in Fairfield. So we'd come up and see her family. It was still a very small town environment and the downtown was pretty vibrant. We had a couple of really good restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops stores. It was just, it wasn't dynamic. but it was still like a small town, a downtown area. Then over the years, it deteriorated. Why? Who knows? It was a combination of COVID, recessions, bad business practices, migration, etc. but it was quiet. I think finally the city leaders felt like, Hey, this is, we have to get something going down here.


This blog post was written by AI technology based on the transcript of the Podcast. It contains errors.


Now we have new restaurants coming in, which is exciting. Some new retail, The City's community person, Christina is doing more festivals down there. We had our Tomato Festival recently, which is huge. It's a weekend thing where thousands of people come in from all over. We've had a Blues and Brews festival. We have our Thursday afternoon market. Just more things that are designed to create foot traffic. There's a Sacramento event, there's that dinner on the bridge they close to bridge, so we're doing something similar closing the street right in the middle of downtown where there are tables and kind of a farm-to-fork thing. Some of the local wineries provide the wine, the restaurants downtown provide the food. It's a fundraiser for nonprofits. We're really working on downtown and I'm seeing the difference now. The success is coming from a commitment from the council and city staff and some other organizations to pay attention to it.


From Jared Asch, I like you've reduced your fees for permits here to your neighboring cities, What about time to permits that always come up in places, right


Vaccaro - I think with our new city manager, David, I think he's being very he's very aggressive. He's very smart. He knows that was an issue. I brought it up a couple of times when business would call me and say, Hey, Rick, where's our permit? What's going on here? It's been sitting in planning for the last five and six months. I think that's changed a lot where the city's really working on the businesses. We're really trying to get people to get started for startups right away. I think overall in the 15 years I've been here, I'm starting to see a bigger change in that. Another problem is if you don't have the employees, we were short employees for a long time. I think we're finally starting to get fully staffed. For a while there, we didn't have enough people working in those departments. So I think that's why the permits were just sitting there. Jared Asch comments "That is a problem throughout the Bay Area, many cities and counties are short-staffed.


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