I read Jim Warnemuende’s editorial “Redding Needs a Destination” as a double entendre to mean not only a clear vision for the future, but also a geographical place to go, intentionally.
What I propose is that Redding needs more affluent I-5 travelers, passing through, driving between the Bay Area and Portland to make Redding their “North State Stop” for a “Play Day.”
Specifically I propose we focus on those tourists with a “Westside State of Mind” who decide to bear west at the Highway 44 off-ramp to visit the Sundial Bridge, Turtle Bay Exploration Park and beyond.
To attract them for more than a few hours we need to improve our infrastructure. The natural attraction and lure of the Sacramento River is already here, but what’s missing is the man-made improvements of interesting architecture, restaurants, shops, entertainment, walking and biking paths and higher quality hotels (like the under-construction Sheraton promises to be.)
Developing the Park Marina riverfront area and revitalizing downtown have long been part of Redding’s 2000-2020 Economic Development Element (Goal ED4 and ED6) but there has been little action. Leases are due to expire in 2020 in Park Marina, so now is a good time to make specific plans with the land owners. This should be a priority of new Council members to be elected in November 2016.