A Jewel in the Delta
and roll dance bands, food and crafts from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
every Friday, beginning June 1 through August 31 during the
Suisun Summer Concert Series at Harbor Plaza on Main Street.
Call (707) 421-7309 for information.
Lazy, hazy summer reading
can be purchased at the Benicia Library Book Sale on June 9.
Call (707) 646-4200 for information.
Start those engines. It’s the NASCAR Winston Cup Weekend
at Sears Point Raceway, June 21 to 24. Call (800) 870-RACE
Lucky Number Seven.
Vallejo Music Theatre’s production of "Seven Brides
for Seven Brothers" opens June 30 at the Fetterly
Playhouse, 3467 Sonoma Blvd., Suite 10. Call 707-552-ARTS.
The City of Pittsburg is a
successful incorporation of the old and the new and the
Begun more than 25 years ago by
city leaders with visions and dreams, Pittsburg’s renewal is like
a faceted jewel in the making.
The marina and harbor have and
continue to play a major role in the city’s emergence. The city’s
Economic Development Department soon will be revealing a new master
plan for the marina and in a few months, there will be requests for
proposals from developers, said Brad Nail, the city’s new economic
Changes have already begun. For
the first time in many years, there is an onsite harbor master, Van
dePiero, a long-time Pittsburg resident and boating enthusiast, who
formerly owned a tire store in town.
"Already you can see a
change. The old junky boats are being cleared out," said Nail.
That is only the first step in the improvement plan, he noted. The
docks, which now have 22-foot-long boat slips, will be replaced with
slips of 32-foot and 56-foot-long slips. With 700 boat slips,
Pittsburg has the second largest marina in the area, (Vallejo has
100 more) and has the most covered berths at 300, making it a
desirable place to dock. Once the old boats are removed and the
docks demolished, the marina will be dredged, making it more
accessible for larger boats, and the new slips will be built. The
renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2002.
"Twenty-five years ago the
city leaders believed the marina would be the renaissance of the
city. We believe this will be the finishing touch of that
dream," said Nail.
Pittsburg was known as the New
York of the Pacific when it was laid out in 1849, then as Black
Diamond to signify the importance of the nearby coal mines. The coal
mines began closing in the late 1870s, (today some of them are being
restored as part of the Black Diamond Mine Regional Preserve) but
the fishing industry prospered. Later, other industry arrived,
including a manufacturing company, a rubber company and an electric
generating plant, as well as a small steel company. Today, Dow
Chemical and U.S.S-POSCO are the two prime industries in Pittsburg.
Pittsburg saw another boon during
World War II with the construction of Camp Stoneman, built as a
staging area for troops headed for the Pacific, but when the camp
was dismantled after the Korean War, a decline began.
Highway 4, the transportation
link that runs through the industrial corridor of Contra Costa
County from Richmond in West Contra Costa to Antioch in East Contra
Costa, provided the access to the major office complexes built in
the Central county area beginning in the 1980s. With the jobs came
the people and they moved into the affordable East Contra Costa
area, including Pittsburg. The city’s population today is in
excess of 55,000 and growing.
Pittsburg’s downtown saw a
decline when the freeway bypassed it, but city leaders would not
give up easily. Realizing that the city’s future required forward
thinking and courage on their part, determined city leaders began
the process to revitalize the city. Deteriorated buildings, even
including some on which homes of the original settlers had stood,
were razed on several blocks in the downtown area to pave the way
for the rebuilding. Some of the older areas have been preserved and
The vision for the area was a
downtown surrounded by new, upscale housing. Included in that vision
are the three properties the city has on hand, portions of blocks
along Black Diamond Boulevard, between 5th and 8th Streets, where
one residential only development, and two mixed used (live-work
space) projects are planned.
Developing the downtown with
residential units was part of the plan envisioned by the city’s
leaders. During the past 15 years, the plan has been taking shape.
Bay Harbor Park and Marina Park, (some of the homes in the latter
development have their own dock) were built at the foot of Railroad
Avenue. Two more residential developments, one by Hoffman on the
east side and another by Olson on the west side, with prices in the
$300,000 range, have a "marina flavor."
Seeno, another major housing
developer, plans a development above Highway 4.
New, small businesses have moved
into the downtown, where there is a new interest in providing goods
and services, said Nail. "It will be like a shopping
Nearby, Century Plaza has major
stores, and there are plans to develop a restaurant row with fast
food and sit down dining establishments. By the fall, the first auto
dealership is to move into what is expected to be a significant auto
mall. There are also plans to increase the use of the available
industrial land with new light industrial and high tech companies.
And two power plants are under construction and slated to open next
"Redevelopment money has
been a major tool that the City of Pittsburg has been using for the
past 30 years," said Nail. "It has made a huge
The jewel is getting polished.