Davis mayor shares updates on city developments
On April 20, Mayor Dan Wolk gave a State of Davis address before a Davis Progressive Business Exchange at the International House. Wolk aimed to update business leaders and community members about ongoing projects in the city that have drawn both praise and criticism.
Before delving into the official speech, Wolk joined the luncheon and spoke about his personal experience living in Davis.
“I grew up here and then, like every good high school student, couldn’t wait to leave upon graduation,” Wolk said at the meeting. “I returned because I missed the area and wanted to give back to the community.”
As mayor of Davis for two years and member of Davis City Council since 2011, Wolk is now running for California State Assembly, and hopes to use his familiarity with Davis to help better the community.
At the beginning of the report, Wolk focused on current developments in Davis that would positively affect the community. One of the issues that he addressed was Davis’ water quality, which has been criticized for posing a health hazard due to its hexavalent chromium-6 content. In response, the city announced that Davis would be receiving water from the Sacramento River, a cleaner and healthier option.
“There was a real need to go to the river to get the surface water, and we did. It will be great when we finally start drawing water this fall,” Wolk said.
In addition to the positive changes in water quality, Wolk addressed another common concern in Davis. Despite residents largely relying on biking and walking, Davis roads have been in a state of disrepair for years, a safety issue for both drivers and pedestrians alike.
“We’re in the midst of a two year, $12 million road reinvestment program. You’ve seen it on A Street, you’ve certainly seen it on Covell, and we’re doing quite a bit in terms of our roads,” Wolk said.
Wolk also shed some light on the much awaited Nishi Gateway Project, stating that the measure will be on the November ballot. Similarly, Wolk addressed concerns about the proposed Mace Ranch Innovation Center, which has been temporarily put on hold. He expressed that City Council is in contact with the developers about its future plans.
To conclude the State of Davis address, Wolk talked about the city’s recovery from the recession.
“One thing that we noticed about the great recession is that you notice how much we rely on UC Davis and Sacramento government for our employment base,” Wolk said. “And when those took a hit, you really saw how that affects our community.”
Despite the downturn the Davis economy saw in the past, Wolk highlighted the continuously growing economy of Davis.
Several community members were happy with the mayor’s statements and how he handled the issues in Davis.
“He knows what needs to be done to make it an inclusive society with people that share values, that work together and help each other,” said Lyon real estate agent Bob Bockwinkel.
However, there were some who speculated that the progress in Davis is not quite what it seems.
“Affordable means affordable depending on your income, and there’s a lot of criticism going around and groups forming saying that the Nishi housing is not affordable to certain people, and nor is The Cannery,” said Davis resident Julia Hunter-Blair.
The mayor took Hunter-Blair’s concerns into account, explaining the relationship between new housing and affordability.
“The reality of Davis is that if you’re building new housing, there’s no covenant put on it that makes it affordable, that requires it to be affordable,” Wolk said. “The idea is that if you build these apartments, the hope is that they’ll help in terms of addressing affordability.”
Written by: Samantha Solomon – firstname.lastname@example.org