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Sentinel staff report–
The past year saw new development projects and business openings in Citrus Heights, along with changes at City Hall, rising real estate costs, several abrupt closures, and more.
Below are the top local stories that drew the most interest from readers in 2021:
Real estate. The hot housing market was news of the year, with the most-read story on The Sentinel being the sale of a 3-bedroom, 2-bath home on Elza Court which was listed in March for $399,900 and received more than 100 offers the first weekend. A less-read followup story included more details on the sale and reason for the couple’s move: Why this Citrus Heights couple sold their home and is moving to Idaho
Another top real estate story was an eight-bedroom mansion being listed for $1.5 million on Old Auburn Road, near Sunrise Boulevard. Records show the home was later removed from the market in September, for unknown reasons. Related: Which half of Citrus Heights is more expensive to live in?
Development activity. Readers were also interested in demolition and construction activity on Sunrise Boulevard near McDonald’s, where thousands of drivers pass by each day. The site at 7640 Sunrise Blvd. was previously home to an all-terrain vehicle dealership, and has now been converted into expanded parking for the adjacent Palm Auto Sales dealership. Related: What’s going on next to McDonald’s on Sunrise Blvd?
Another development story with significant reader interest was news in July that the abandoned Studio Movie Grill property had been acquired by a new owner. The property is still vacant, and owner representatives have not returned several requests from The Sentinel for more information.
Abrupt closures. A pair of restaurant closures drew significant reader attention when the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant on Greenback Lane abruptly closed at the beginning of the year, followed by the sudden closure of Starbucks in the Marketplace at Birdcage in October. The KFC has since become a Burger King, and a new Starbucks drive-thru is slated to open nearby at the corner of Madison Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard. Related: Firehouse Subs, Starbucks coming to Citrus Heights shopping center
Sunrise Mall. The biggest news of the year for Sunrise Mall was the city’s finalizing of a plan to guide redevelopment of the nearly 100-acre mall property in November. A senior planning manager later said the city is seeing “a ton of interest” from developers interested in the property. For more, see story: City seeing ‘a ton of interest’ from developers in Sunrise Mall plans.
Shootings. News of four people being injured in a shooting outside Rocky’s 7440 Club on Auburn Boulevard in May shocked the community, with added concern raised when another shooting occurred the next weekend near the same location, where two people were struck by gunfire. The Sentinel later published a story detailing an uptick in shootings in 2021. See story: Shots fired: see where all the shootings in Citrus Heights have occurred in 2021
Openings. New restaurant openings also drew significant reader interest, with Citrus Heights welcoming the Greenhouse Cafe in June, next to the former future home of Studio Movie Grill. The cafe is run by a brother-and-sister entrepreneurial duo.
The opening of Inferno Chicken in the Marketplace at Birdcage also saw interest from readers, with a story on Citrus Heights’ newest hot chicken restaurant.
City Hall. Although not drawing as much reader attention, other significant happenings in the city included the announcement of the retirement of City Manager Chris Boyd in May, along with the departure of Police Chief Ron Lawrence. Boyd’s replacement is still being narrowed down by the City Council in closed sessions, and Lawrence was replaced by then-commander Alex Turcotte in September.
In local financial news, the city also announced it would receive a boost of more than $15 million in coronavirus relief funds from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The funding helped the Police Department to begin filling positions that had been left vacant due to budget constraints, and the city is slated to direct the remaining funds later this year.
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