A new plaza near City Hall, a revamped park near the railroad tracks and some form of a gateway landmark are all part of a city plan to spruce up C Street and Lincoln Way in Old Town.
The goal is to connect the new C Street Interchange, which should be finished in 2012, with Old Town, said Bill Forrest, the city’s senior civil engineer.
“We’ve heard from the community that a lot of people do not know there is an Old Town Galt. They get off the highway and go to the (Galt) Market or City Hall, but there is nothing to draw people to keep going into Old Town,” Forrest said.
The city expects to use about $3 million in redevelopment funds to pay for the improvements. Callander Associates is working on the design, and will present it to the public at a meeting on March 30.
The city has identified six main projects:
- Landmark intersection at C Street and Lincoln: Planners are still discussing what type of dominant feature will be at this intersection to show that it is the gateway to Galt, Forrest said. There has been discussion about an archway, some form of stone or concrete obelisk, or something reflecting Galt’s dairy culture.
- Palm Park near the railroad tracks: Plans include extending the park two blocks south and installing more palm trees, walking trails, gazebos and new grass. Also, the city plans to put in more parking for Old Town and leave a space open for a potential railroad station. While the city has no specific plans for train service, if a commuter train ever happens in the area, this could be a possible location for a station, Forrest said.
- Civic Plaza: A public plaza will be constructed behind City Hall to connect it to C Street. It could include decorative paving with recessed lighting, an interactive fountain, seat walls, landscaping and a curved pergola, which are often found in gardens and provide shade.
- Lincoln Way improvements: Sidewalks will be reconfigured to go back to diagonal parking, which will provide 34 percent more spots. Also, the city plans to install a new parking lot that could also be used for events, create a mid-block crosswalk, add new trees and landscaping, and relocate street lights.
- C Street between Civic Drive and Lincoln Way: Improvements include landscaping the median, installing lighting, and improving the road and sidewalks to complement the area.
- C Street between Sixth Street and
Lincoln Way: The city wants to put in landscaping and new lighting, and complete road and sidewalk improvements, including upgrading undersized walkways and installing sidewalks where none exist.
Galt is joining a growing number of cities that are undertaking improvements to established districts and neighborhoods.
“It cements and finalizes an image of the city, increases economic activity and, for lack of a better term, makes the area look nice,” Forrest said.
Callander Associates project manager Dan Miller said these type of creative infrastructure projects are a relatively new trend. His company is doing the Galt project and has completed similar ones in Hayward and San Carlos.
He said it is key to find out what residents think are the defining characteristics of a town to help guide construction of an entryway. The city has a meeting in February to receive feedback from the public and will have another in March.
At one meeting, a lady identified the Galt sign near City Hall as something that shows the city’s character. Another person mentioned the red bricks in Old Town.
Having the right signs is key for any city, said Simon Andrews, of San Diego-based Graphic Solutions.
His company has installed directional signs in more than 30 cities in southwestern states that guide drivers to various tourist attractions.
Archway signs have the greatest presence, Andrews said, but it is important that they match the landscaping and design of the streets and sidewalks. It is also important to illustrate what the community has to offer.
“It is sort of like inviting people to your house. You don’t put something phony on the door; you put something that shows your character,” he said.
About three months ago, Malou Dalichau opened up M&W Dutch American Bakery on Lincoln Way. She owns a store with the same name in Stockton and sold baked goods at the Galt Market. Her customers in Galt encouraged her to open a store, and she knew she wanted to be based in downtown.
When she lived in Glendale about 10 years ago, Dalichau would often go to Pasadena to take a stroll during the afternoon. She hopes Galt will be a place where people will come to walk, and also do some window shopping or sit in the park.
“It could become kind of like an afternoon, family place to walk,” Dalichau said. “It will increase business for people to see and know we are here.”
The city will have another meeting for public comment on 6:30 p.m. on March 30 at the Chabolla Community Center, 600 Chabolla Ave.