The man behind the effort to transform thousands of acres in Solano County into a city gave NBC Bay Area a tour of the site Friday. This comes as the proposed city is facing an uphill battle with county residents.
California Forever CEO Jan Sramek has big plans for the proposed site. Sramek and his investors now own more than 60,000 acres in rural Solano County and they are determined to build a new city there.
“I just think this is a spectacular opportunity to create one of the great American cities,” he said. “It’s the right idea at the right place at the right time. And I think people in Solano County are beginning to see that.”
Sramek showed NBC Bay Area around part of the property Friday afternoon. He says he wants to create a community with walkable neighborhoods, shopping, dining, renewable energy and open space. He hopes the first 50,000 residents will be living on the site by 2040.
“It’s two, three, five story buildings. A lot of are all houses, small apartments, buildings, local businesses, local retail shops. You can walk to grocery store. You can walk to a restaurant or a coffee shop. Your kids can walk to school, small parks everywhere,” he said.
But the proposal still isn’t sitting well with many Solano County residents.
On Thursday evening, people packed the Solano County Water Agency meeting, where Sramek hoped to convince the district to partner with him to study water resources as he looks for ways to get water to his proposed city. The agency wanted nothing to do with it.
“Here’s the message, show us your plans and we will work from there. That’s the message. The messages, you can talk all you want but we need to see your plans,” said Fairfield Mayor Catherine Moy.
Moy, who sits on the water agency board says she’s still very skeptical of the project, which operated in secrecy for years. The company didn’t disclose its intentions or its investors until recently.
“I mostly am going to listen to our citizens and our citizens right now don’t want anything to do with them. That was clear last night,” Moy said.
“I think if we do this right, design it right, bring the kind of jobs that we believe we can bring here in 20 years, people look back and say I don’t understand why anyone was against it,” Sramek said.
But Sramek added support is growing. He’s formed a 21-member advisory committee that even includes the Solano County sheriff. He says California Forever will be releasing the detailed plans at the start of next year once they get more community input.
“We committed, we came in, we bought the property and we invested almost $1 billion,” he said. “We’re here for the next 30 or 40 years and so, we’re going to make this work.”
Sramek says failure is not an option. He says there’s no plan B.
“We’re going to get the support we need. I’m very confident,” Sramek said.
Source: NBC Bay Area