Good Things Happening in the North State
● By Kerri Regan
2014 promises to be an exciting year in the North State, with some of the area's most ambitious minds preparing to unveil show-stopping projects in the months to come. Their hard work and big dreams are designed to pay off in a richer community for all of us. Here's a look at just a few of the projects on the horizon.
Shasta Wine Village ... A taste of class
Wine enthusiasts are quickly learning that you needn’t travel hundreds of miles to enjoy delicious wines – the North State is home to a growing number of unique, high-quality vineyards. And soon, wine enthusiasts will have the opportunity to explore many of them in one easy stop.
Shasta Wine Village is set to break ground this spring on 10 acres just off Interstate 5’s Mountain Gate exit, four miles north of Redding. Doors are expected to open by year’s end on the village, which will showcase 15 to 17 individual tasting rooms featuring wineries from the Shasta-Cascade region, along with dining, retail, a picnic area and ample parking.
The village is comprised of four main sections. The Chateau will feature fine dining, indoor and outdoor fireplaces, and two spacious winery suites. The Loft will offer a private outdoor patio area with seven winery tasting rooms where high ceilings bathe the building in natural light. Roll-up doors will open up the area for special events. The Cellar will showcase From the Hearth Café and Bakery, which will offer indoor and outdoor dining and a to-go window where visitors can find bakery goods and specialty coffee drinks. The Cuverie will include a single large winery tasting room, an interior fireplace and a secured private patio area, along with a retail sales area for regional products, such as olives, olive oil, nuts and wine related items.
The village will be open seven days a week, with tasting rooms open from noon to 5 pm (restaurants and shops will have varying hours).
The village was created in California mission style, with smooth textured stucco walls, tile roofs and wrought iron elaborations, says architect Terry Topolski. Oversized wood or metal doors, open-air courtyards, a covered pavilion and a mission-style bell tower punctuate the design. Large solid wood plank doors flanked by weathered oak wine barrels create an old-world backdrop for special occasions, Topolski says.
Marcus Partin, managing partner for Shasta Wine Village, developed the concept and has been working on it for three and a half years, hoping to capitalize on the booming wine tourism industry. “We looked at everything like this in the Western United States, and we’re learning from their mistakes and successes,” Partin says.
The North State has a surprisingly robust wine industry, Partin says. About 45 wineries are part of the Shasta Cascade Viticulture Association, and Shasta College is home to a unique viticulture program.
The odds of success are stacked in Shasta Wine Village’s favor, with its proximity to a transportation corridor, visibility and pleasant climate. He’s anticipating visits from many of the 2.7 million people who travel to the Shasta-Cascade area annually, with a projected economic impact of about $225,000 in sales tax revenue per year.
In addition, “it’s 125-130 jobs for the community, and we’re tapping into a resource that drives through our area constantly,” Partin says.
Tiger Field ... If you (re)build it
When Redding Mayor Rick Bosetti was growing up, Tiger Field was an ideal spot to take a date or watch some baseball with the family.
Times have changed, and the park has deteriorated over the years. But a major makeover of Redding’s historic Tiger Field, planned for this spring, has Bosetti anticipating a return to the good ol’ days.
Bosetti, a former professional ball player and manager of the local Colt .45s, said upgrades will begin when Simpson University’s season wraps up in mid-April, and will be done by the time the Colt .45s’ first pitch is thrown out on May 31.
The backstop will be modernized and moved 20 feet closer to home plate, so “when you have pitchers throwing 90 mph, you’re gonna hear it,” Bosetti says. More shading will be installed, and the dugouts will be closer to the fans. They’re planning to install about 250 stadium seats at first, with plans to scale up to 900-1,000 in five years, along with 600 bleacher seats. Right now, the stadium seats about 400, with another 90 seats behind home plate.
“When you make it more comfortable for the fans, they will come more often,” Bosetti says. The field was built in 1923.
Forty-two home games are scheduled this year for the summer collegiate baseball team, and the roster includes players from Notre Dame, University of Southern California, UC Davis, the University of Washington and more. “This is a really good quality of baseball that people are going to see for five bucks,” Bosetti says. “It’s a good fan experience and a good family experience.”
He’s hopeful that the renovation will help return the luster to South City Park, the gateway to downtown Redding.
“I can remember when I was a young person in this town, and Tiger Field and South City Park was date night. You’d take your girlfriend to a ballgame. Nothing would tickle me more than to bring that back.”
Riverfront Playhouse ... Setting the stage
If the stars align, 2014 will see the curtain rise on Riverfront Playhouse’s most significant show in decades—the construction of its new theater.
Ten years ago, property was purchased at Placer and Pine streets in downtown Redding for a new 194-seat venue to replace the 92-seat, aging community theater on East Cypress Avenue.
Building plans are on their way through the city, says Riverfront board member Larry Morgon. The Playhouse’s team is working with Trilogy Architecture and Gifford Construction to trim costs and keep the project within its $2 million budget, Morgon says.
“We’re certainly hopeful that we’re under way this spring,” he says, as the new theater is supposed to be operational by April 2015. “A lot depends on where we are with fundraising – if the bids come in higher than our budget and the bank lends less, we may have to fundraise longer. But we’re certainly getting closer, and we hope to have a building permit in hand in a few months.”
Riverfront Board President Dan Kupsky says a community meeting is in the works so the public can hear an update and share their ideas to “close that funding gap and get this thing built,” he says. “It’s going to be a big year for us. We’re working hard behind the scenes with grant writers and community leaders.”
And when the stage is finally set, it will be well worth the wait, Kupsky says. “Riverfront is a great asset that gives people the opportunity to enjoy live theater, and even be part of it,” says Kupsky, who has been in about eight shows himself. “I run into people every day who have never been to Riverfront, and I can’t believe it, because it’s had so many terrific shows. We have great shows with great directors and actors and actresses – shows that you’d drive to the city to see. But it’s spent the past 35 years in an obscure warehouse.”
The new venue will also lend itself to community groups, lecture series and much more, Kupsky says. “Downtown is revitalizing, and we want to be part of that,” Kupsky says.
Planes, Brains and Game Changers
Shasta Wine Village, Tiger Field’s upgrades and a new Riverfront Playhouse hint at brighter days for the North State — a notion confirmed by Marc Lascelles, president of the Shasta County Economic Development Corporation.
“The economy is definitely making a turn,” Lascelles said. “Real estate is going to continue to come back this year. We’ll see an increase in the construction industry — raw material manufacturers are starting to kick in with their hiring, and when they’re hiring, we see a positive impact on economy.”
Banks are stabilizing as foreclosures are tapering off, which will make lending easier, Lascelles says. And he’s working hard to expand the Redding Municipal Airport’s offerings. “If all goes well and the stars line up just perfectly, we might be able to get some Los Angeles service in place this coming year — but we’re a long way from commitment,” Lascelles says.
A growth of entrepreneurial science- and technology-based companies continues, which holds plenty of promise for the local economy. “In other communities, that has attracted university campuses, restructured airport transportation systems and just rebuilt the health of the community,” Lascelles says.
In addition to more inquiries from larger manufacturers looking at the area, 16 new small companies were spotlighted in the EDC’s Game Changers event in September, and Lascelles expects that number to grow this year. The purpose of Game Changers is to introduce the community to a sampling of the innovative companies developing in the North State and the entrepreneurs behind them. For instance, a coding school will soon be opening in Redding, where people will learn code engineering over a 90-day period. “They’ll be able to walk straight into a coding position,” Lascelles says. “That can be a game-changer for the community as to how others see us from outside.”