Birth and Rebirth
City Council Approves Plan for New Sutter Park Neighborhood
By Daniel Barnes
When Sutter Memorial Hospital shut down in 2015, it was the longest-running maternity hospital west of the Mississippi. Opened on F Street in 1937, Sutter Memorial welcomed more than 348,000 babies into the world during its time of operation.
“My daughter was born in Sutter Hospital, as was almost everybody’s kid that I know,” says District 3 Councilman Jeff Harris. “It was a bit of a loss to see the hospital come down, but it had really served its service life.”
Three years later, the former birthing site is ready for its rebirth. After receiving final City Council approval in early November, construction is moving forward on Sutter Park, a 19-acre development with more than 100 housing units built around a small central park. The design for Sutter Park, which seeks to blend with the existing neighborhood by mimicking nearby home designs and tree types, evolved through years of meetings with area residents.
“What really sets this project apart from other projects is that it was community-inspired,” says Randy Sater, president of StoneBridge Properties, a subsidiary of Teichert Land Co. and the master developer on the Sutter Park project. “It includes a variety of different housing types consistent with the eclectic nature of East Sacramento.”
Harris, a longtime River Park resident, believes that StoneBridge did an “absolutely stellar” job of outreach. “They solicited a tremendous amount of community input and, as a result, when the project came to council, there was literally no opposition,” he says. “They’ve solicited a lot of design input from the neighborhood, and they will keep an eye toward having it blend well.”
StoneBridge spent several years researching not just the history of Sutter Park, but the histories of other highly coveted park neighborhoods like Curtis Park and McKinley Park, borrowing bits of bygone-era charm and history
from their designs. The plan includes park benches built from reclaimed timber of the demolished hospital, a rose garden, a playground donated by Sutter Health and the original camellia bush planted by Sutter nurses in 1937. With the final map approved in November, the plan is for StoneBridge to start delivering finished lots to builders by the end of the year. “We create the sense of place for Sutter Park,” Sater says. “We’ll install all the gardens, the parks, the pedestrian areas, the paseos, and the sculptures and shade structures, and then we sell finished lots to builders.” Most of the homes at Sutter Park will be built by Tim Lewis Communities, although there will be a mixed-used parcel with 3,000 square feet of commercial space and 11 condo units developed by Urban Elements.
Sater believes that construction will probably start next spring, with the first houses finished by fall 2019. He anticipates that the properties will be highly coveted among homebuyers. “We launched a preliminary market website in August,” he says. “Without even advertising it, we had over 200 folks interested within two or three weeks.”
THE GROMMET AT EAST SAC HARDWARE
Sheree Johnston, owner of East Sac Hardware, knows that when you are in retail you have to always to look for new ideas to keep your business vital to customers. And she’s been working at just that for the last 10 years, since she took over running the store originally founded by her husband.
“Last year Ace Hardware approached me as one of the 100 select Ace stores—out of 5,000 nationwide—for a trial run of a new concept called The Grommet,” says Johnston. For its retail shops, Ace wanted to bring locally relevant, innovative and unique products to help distinguish them from national home-improvement chains.
The Grommet launches a new product each week and helps tell the story of the people behind those products. “The Grommet’s mission is to level the playing field to help the best and most innovative products succeed,” she says.
Since 2008, The Grommet has launched more than 3,000 products, including many that are now household names, such as FitBit, Food Should Taste Good, GoldieBlox, IdeaPaint, Lovepop, OtterBox, PopSockets, SimpliSafe, SodaStream and S’well, among others.
“Initially, the space allocated to Grommet merchandise was a two-foot double-sided fixture.”
Johnston says her customers were so pleased she continued to grow The Grommet purchases and expand display space for the products.
“We rearranged part of the front section of the store, bought some new fixtures and had custom signage made. Our goal was to have everything finished for the start of the Christmas season,” she notes. “I was attracted to Grommet because of their focus of supporting U.S. makers and manufacturers. This is something I really focused on when the recession hit in 2008.
“This is also a way for us to serve customers by finding new and cool items, and giving them a reason to shop locally vs. on Amazon,” she says.
“Four years ago we added toys and last year we added books. I have been very pleasantly surprised to the response our customers have had to the books. In the first year, book sales have far exceeded our expectations,” adds Johnston.
East Sac Hardware is at 4800 Folsom Blvd.
HOMES FOR THE HOLIDAYS
The 45th annual Sacred Heart Holiday Home Tour runs Nov. 30–Dec. 2, although according to veteran organizer Kris Quigley, planning for this year’s event started the first Monday after last year’s tour.
A fundraising event benefiting Sacred Heart Parish School, the tour showcases five East Sacramento houses decorated for the holidays by five different designers. “The most humbling part is asking our generous neighbors to donate their beautiful homes year after year to the tour, and the fact that they are so gracious,” Quigley says.
Homes on the self-guided tour will range from ranch to colonial to a brick Tudor wending through the Fabulous 40s. A boutique and café at the Sacred Heart Parish School will offer holiday gifts, decorations, and a variety of food and beverages.
Event tickets cost $30 in advance and $35 on tour days. For more information, visit sacredhearthometour.com.
DECK THE HALLS
Theodore Judah Elementary School will hold its Winter Music and Arts Festival on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free event will feature musical performances by Theodore Judah students, as well as student art, crafts from local vendors and holiday treats for sale.
Proceeds will help fund enrichment programs at the school. For more information, visit theodorejudahelementary.org.
PAINT AND SIP; PIZZA PLANS
The space on 57th and J streets that used to house Hot City Pizza has been filled by Hue Paint & Sip Studio, a place that allows guests to create art while enjoying wine and other beverages.
Hot City Pizza may be long gone, but East Sac beer-and-pizza fans still have reason to celebrate. The owners of Federalist Public House recently announced plans to open a second venture called The Neighborhood Pizzeria on the corner of 54th and H streets.