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Updated June 10, 11:09 a.m.–
Sentinel staff report– Around 100 people showed up to a street dedication ceremony on Turner Court in Citrus Heights on Friday to memorialize the legacy of Councilman Mel Turner, who died two years ago while serving his second term in office.
Connie Turner, the widow of the late councilman, arrived with family members to the ceremony in a black limo van and was greeted with flowers by Vice Mayor Jeff Slowey.
In opening remarks, before family members and attendees participated in a ribbon cutting, Mayor Jeannie Bruins called Turner a longtime friend and said he had come to the city with a passion for youth and a love for people.
“I remember Mel as a man of compassion, a man of connection, and a man of courage,” said Bruins. “I think if each one of us can embody those qualities in life, we will leave the world a better place, as he did.”
Turner first joined the council in 2010 and served as the city’s mayor in 2014. He was reelected to a four-year term on the council in 2014, but passed away at age 67 on April 20, 2017, after battling pancreatic cancer for more than a year.
Known for his warm leadership and deep voice, Turner had a focus on mentoring youth and fostering leadership and was credited for his role as a founding member of the Citrus Heights Police Activities League.
Sacramento County Supervisor Sue Frost, who was one of many area dignitaries present at the ceremony on Friday, told The Sentinel that Turner had been the key influence in causing her to run for a position on the Citrus Heights City Council in 2012. She said the street being named after him was a “wonderful tribute to someone who played an important role in our city.”
“This is just a great way to memorialize him, and when we drive by we’ll get to see Turner Court and we’ll think of Mel.”
Friday’s ceremony concluded with an outdoor catered lunch for all attendees.
The Mariposa Creek housing development on Turner Court, located just off Antelope Road, is home to 15 newly constructed homes on a 3.5-acre subdivision that was once voted on by the City Council as a “preferred site” to build a new city hall back in 2014. The then-vacant property was later sold by the city and subsequently developed by Watt Communities,
which has been involved in several current and past housing projects within Citrus Heights’ city limits.
Watt Communities’ projects have included the 46-home AutumnWood development off Antelope Road near Interstate 80 and the current 260-unit Mitchell Farms project approved off Arcadia Drive.
Kevin Webb, Northern California division president for Watt Communities, said he had worked with Turner on prior projects and described him as “authentic and honorable.” Webb selected the street name in Turner’s honor and the City of Citrus Heights joined in putting on the street dedication ceremony.
About half the homes on Turner Court have already sold. Additional information about the homes can be found at www.wattcommunities.com.
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