City Hall, Community

City plans huge block party to celebrate Citrus Heights’ 20th birthday

Block Party, Citrus Heights
A large billboard advertises the city’s upcoming Block Party to celebrate 20 years of cityhood. // CH Sentinel

Updated June 2, 8:59 a.m.–
An afternoon block party to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Citrus Heights becoming a city will be held at Van Maren Park on June 3, promising entertainment, live music, great food, local ales, a kids zone, and more.

The free event will be on Saturday, June 3, from 3 to 8 p.m. at Van Maren Park and Stock Ranch Road, located near city hall. Organizers said Stock Ranch Road will be blocked off for the event and are targeting attendance over 5,000.

“This will be a celebration to remember,” said Event Coordinator Darlene Lyons in a statement to The Sentinel. “Bring your friends and family, meet your neighbors, learn about local services and clubs, shop locally, eat some great food, check out the classic car show, listen to some good music and enjoy the entertainment for all ages.”

A May 30 news release about the block party said attendees will find strolling characters and a “super cool kids zone” with a rock wall, reverse bungee jumping, face painting, balloon twisting, and other activities. A 13-foot robotic dinosaur with full motion and sound effects will also be roaming through the event, according to a tweet from the city.

Lyons said the event will kick off with a 3 p.m. welcome reception at city hall, followed by entertainment at Van Maren Park — featuring the Boys of Summer Eagles Tribute Band at 4:30 p.m. and 1970’s pop-rock band Pablo Cruise at 6:15 p.m. The Citrus Heights Community Marching Band and the Citrus Heights-based Capitol Pops Concert Band will also perform during the event.

“This should be a fun-packed day for all members of the community,” said Mayor Jeff Slowey, commenting that Pablo Cruise was popular during his high school days. “Come on out and celebrate our past 20 years as a city and maybe get to know someone new in the city.”

According to an event schedule, the block party will also feature a classic car show, along with street entertainment, lawn games, shopping, food trucks, and giveaways. A beer garden sponsored by Stones Gambling Hall will also be on site, with other event sponsors including Sunrise Marketplace and Sunrise Mall, Quick Quack Car Wash, Republic Services, and Dignity Health.

The event is part of a year-long celebration of the city’s 20th anniversary, with additional plans including a traveling anniversary booth to be featured at upcoming community events in the city this year. The city has also unveiled a different theme for each month to highlight various aspects of the city, such as “top 20” city landmarks and “top 20 things you love about Citrus Heights.” The theme for May is “Top 20 oldest businesses.”

The fight for cityhood
As previously reported on The Sentinel, up until 1997, Citrus Heights was an unincorporated part of Sacramento County, like Orangevale and Antelope, but a group of business owners and residents formed the Citrus Heights Incorporation Project (CHIP) in the 1980’s, seeking more local control through cityhood.

Specific issues listed as reasons for incorporation are detailed on the city’s website and include a desire by residents and community leaders for “increased land use controls and public services,” in light of “spiraling” population growth. Growing problems with auto theft, burglaries and vandalism, and a limited number of sheriff’s deputies patrolling the area were also a key issue.

However, the cityhood effort was met with opposition from Sacramento County leaders.

According to a timeline published on the city’s website, a petition for cityhood was filed by CHIP in 1986 — but the County Board of Supervisors narrowly defeated a resolution calling for a cityhood election.

Related article: Mayor reflects on fight to make Citrus Heights a city

The county also filed a lawsuit against the incorporation effort, but lost at the state supreme court level in 1992. The case was then filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court declined to hear the case.

Following discussion and an agreement with CHIP and the county, supervisors voted unanimously to not oppose cityhood in 1996 — as long as the city agreed to compensate the county for tax revenue it would lose. The compensation agreement has meant Citrus Heights has given up its portion of property tax to the county for the past 20 years, and it is required to continue to do so for a total of 25 years.

On Nov. 5, 1996, voters approved the “Yes on R” cityhood measure by 62 percent and also elected their first city council. The first five council members were William Hughes, Alma Kenyon, Roberta MacGlashan, Tim Raney, and James Shelby.

Related: Citrus Heights Police Dept celebrates 10-year anniversary

A decade after cityhood, Citrus Heights formed its own police department, which has been credited with consistently reducing crime in the city and has won statewide recognition with a pair of James Q. Wilson community policing awards.

Cityhood efforts have become more rare across California in recent years, with Citrus Heights being one of just 12 cities that have incorporated in the past two decades. By comparison, during the 80’s alone, a total of 34 cities incorporated in the Golden State, according to the California Association of Local Agency Formation Commissions.

Citrus Heights is credited with paving the way for two other cityhood efforts in the region. Elk Grove soon followed Citrus Heights in becoming a city in the year 2000, and Rancho Cordova incorporated as a city in 2003.

Event info:
Citrus Heights Block Party
June 3, 2017
Time: 3-8 p.m.
Van Maren Park/Stock Ranch Road