This KVIE video was selected as "Video of the Day" on Dec. 23, 2011 because of
the Downtown area's importance to the Sacramento region and the fact that this video covers compelling economic and social issues affecting its development.
Downtown Partnership Executive Director Michael Ault and former Sacramento Press Editor David Watts Barton discuss the Downtown area's
history and future with Studio Sacramento host Scott Syphax. A powerful question he asks early in the discussion is what does
Downtown have that suburbia doesn't? Barton says it's a fun place to ride your bike and Ault credits the K Street Mall
as the heart and soul of the central city, where there is a variety of businesses. The conversation then addressed the debate on whether or
not Sacramento needs to become like other world class cities or just develop its own homegrown identity.
Ault says it's a little of both due to proximity with the Bay and Sacramento having its own scenery with two rivers.
Barton says completion of the 700 block of K Street Mall will add more businesses and residents in a few years.
He says new businesses that opened doors in 2011 are already helping the K Street Mall. But he adds that Downtown
is not very business-friendly due to restrictions that go along with the mix of business and residential areas.
Barton confirms that Sacramento's economy is one of the worst in the country but lower commercial
rates have been favorable to local businesses. What does Downtown need? Ault says "the community needs to grow with local talent."
Downtown needs to be a special place more than a destination, he asserts.
An important difference between Downtown and Midtown is that Midtown is more residential. Downtown has much more development
whereas Midtown hasn't changed as much. Barton says the reason Westfield Mall doesn't put more emphasis on the Downtown Plaza
is because their Roseville Mall attracts more people. In order to get more people Downtown certain things do need to change.
As Ault points out, it only takes one bad experience Downtown for people to tell their community about it. He says that completion of the rail yard area
would be a big help. Barton's idea would be to get more residents living Downtown since "people attract people."