46.6 F
Citrus Heights
Monday, March 27, 2023

Related stories

Citrus Heights News Briefs: schools, Sayonara, business, shoplifting

Latest local news briefs include outcomes on four significant or controversial votes held by the Citrus Heights City Council on March 23. Votes related to housing on Sayonara Drive, $1 million in business attraction funding, support for SB 316, and a vote to form an education advisory committee.

A closer look at potential mixed-use development on Auburn Blvd

By Phillip Pesola-- New design standards for residential and mixed-use development along Auburn Boulevard were presented to and unanimously supported by Citrus Heights Planning Commissioners during their meeting on Wednesday.

130-unit senior apartment complex in Citrus Heights now slated for auction

By Mike Hazlip— A large, senior apartment complex on Sunrise Boulevard that was the subject of several closed-door meetings with city leaders last year is now slated to be sold at auction on April 17...

Opening ceremony for traveling Vietnam memorial set for March 29

A traveling, 375-foot-long "Wall That Heals" Vietnam memorial will be set up this week at Rusch Park, with an opening ceremony slated for March 29.

21,000-square-foot funeral center opens in Citrus Heights

By Mike Hazlip— A newly constructed funeral facility along Interstate 80 in Citrus Heights was dedicated during a ceremony at the site on Wednesday.

City’s neighborhood groups seek to inform residents, improve Citrus Heights


Citrus Heights Neighborhood areas
A map of Citrus Heights, showing the city’s 11 different neighborhood areas.

By Mike Hazlip—
When Citrus Heights incorporated more than 20 years ago, community leaders established 11 neighborhood associations to help build projects, improve neighborhoods, raise concerns to police and City Council, and build community.

Citrus Heights’ first mayor, Bill Hughes, implemented the neighborhood associations upon the city’s hard won fight to incorporate in 1997. In the decades since, the neighborhood associations have proven to be a successful grassroots effort to improve the quality of life in the city, according to several sources contacted by The Sentinel.

Unlike a homeowner’s association, the neighborhood associations do not charge dues and anyone who lives, works, or owns property in the area is automatically a member, according to information available at the city’s website. Active associations typically meet monthly, and have their own bylaws and governing board.

The neighborhoods are also aided by an umbrella organization called the Residents’ Empowerment Association of Citrus Heights (REACH), which seeks to help the areas collaborate together and encourage community involvement and participation. Many association leaders are also REACH board members.

Today, some of those associations have gone dark while others have merged. The Sentinel reached out to City Council members and neighborhood association leaders to see how the associations function today and how they have shaped the community.

Impact and influence
Vice Mayor Tim Schaefer, who previously served as president of Area 5 before being elected to the City Council in 2020, said the associations are an important part of shaping the community and described them as a “conduit” for residents to communicate with the city.

“Citrus Heights Neighborhood associations are vital to the vibrancy of the Citrus Heights Community,” Schaefer said in an email to The Sentinel.

He also recalled several projects where neighborhood associations had a voice in shaping the community, saying the associations “bring a larger community voice and have used that voice in the City’s planning process.”

Among the projects neighborhood associations have played a successful role in shaping, Schaefer cited an effort eight years ago to keep City Hall from moving to a vacant lot on Antelope Road, removal of a roundabout at Woodmore Oaks Drive, input on multiple traffic light installations, and opposition to a liquor license application by Walgreens at Dewey Drive and Greenback Lane.

From 2014: Council Votes 4-0 to Select New ‘Preferred’ City Hall Site

Councilwoman Jeannie Bruins said that while the associations do not have a direct role in council decisions, association members are the “ears and eyes for their community.”

Bruins recalled successful projects such as tree planting, and trail benches as well as the successful opposition to an ARCO gas station proposed for Sunrise Boulevard and Sungarden Drive.

From 2018: Developer withdraws controversial proposal for new ARCO on Sunrise Blvd

Area 5 President Tom Scheeler echoed the importance of the associations in shaping local projects and policies. In the absence of social media and smart phones 20 years ago, Scheeler said the associations provided an important venue to share information. Although technology today has made information sharing easier, Scheeler still sees the associations as an important part of the community.

“With greater City emphasis on pushing information out to the community through varies social media, monthly meetings provide a face to face meeting opportunity with CHPD and speakers,” Scheeler said, naming various government agencies and services. “These in-person presentations both provide an opportunity to ask questions as well as receive information as well as generating a feeling of connection amongst neighbors by having common interests that affect all.”

Citrus Heights Police Lt. Chad Morris said the associations have a positive impact on the community. While police work with a variety of community organizations, Morris said officers regularly attend association meetings and interact with residents.

“Not only do these associations foster a sense of community and belonging, but we believe they also result in safer more engaged community,” Morris said. “The information share and open lines of communication with the police department benefits everyone and helps us more efficiently deploy our resources to confront the challenges that our community is facing.”

From 2016: Henry Tingle reflects on 17 years as Citrus Heights city manager

Area 3 President Michael Lagomarsino said the associations have worked on a number of projects, sometimes coordinating with other associations, as well as schools and park districts. Lagomarsino said one area helped provide new shoes for families who could not afford them, added benches and drinking fountains to some local parks, and repaired tennis courts. He also noted the neighborhoods recently joined together to help clean up San Juan Park.

As of July 2022, areas one, two, and four are not currently active, according to the city’s website. The city lists positions for president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary as vacant for those areas.

Areas seven, eight, and nine have merged and represent one of the most active associations, known as CHASEN. President Kathy Morris said the goal of the associations remains enhancing the livability of the area and maintaining communication between residents and government agencies.

“Even with all the ‘social media’ available Information gathering and sharing is still most effective on a person to person basis,” Morris said.

However, communication with the city can be a balancing act for Morris who says individual members views may differ from that of the board.

“When the Board and/or the full group endorse an issue, we speak for the group,” she said. “Other times there are differing views so our role is to be sure all get heard by the correct City people.”

How to get involved
Getting involved in the associations is something Morris says many people underestimate until the need arises.

“Often, we don’t think about getting involved until we are personally impacted – development in my backyard,” she said. “Usually it is more effective to get involved early so one knows what may be coming.”

Among the projects Morris said the associations have undertaken are holiday gifts and food for families, trail and park beautification, park benches, and food collections.

All of the association leaders contacted by The Sentinel say the time commitment to serve in leadership varies, but stressed the need for more volunteer participation and attendance at meetings. Residents can explore the “Neighborhood Associations” section of the city’s website for contact information and meeting times.

The following meeting times and locations for the various neighborhood associations was taken from the city’s website on July 29, 2022:

  • Area 1, Northwest, is currently inactive.
  • Area 2, Rusch Park, is also inactive.
  • Area 3, CHANT, is led by Michael Lagomarsino but the vice president position is vacant. June Russell is Secretary and Treasurer, Sandy Lagomarsino is Hospitality, and John Carleton is the public information officer. Meetings are currently held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the City Hall community room, 6360 Fountain Square Drive.
  • Area 4, Arcade Creek, is inactive.
  • Area 5, Park Oaks, is led by President Tom Scheeler and Treasurer Will Wern-Rodriguez. Meetings are 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at Advent Lutheran Church, 5901 San Juan Blvd.
  • Area 6, Sunrise Ranch, is led by president Ruth Fox, with Vice President Louis Chapman, Secretary Gina Olivares, and Treasurer Oleg Shishko. There are two director-at-large positions that are vacant. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at Twin Oaks Avenue Baptist Church, 7690 Twin Oaks Ave.
  • Areas 7, 8, and 9 merged to form CHASEN and is led by President Kathy Morris with Vice President Bill Shirley, Treasurer Diane Louise, Secretary DeAun Deckwa, Directors Margaret Cleek, Glenn Miller, Mike Nishimura, and Dave Smith. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Tuesday of each month at the newly re-named Foundation Christian Church 7800 Wonder St., formerly Antelope Road Christian Church.
  • Area 10, Sylvan Old Auburn Road (SOAR), is led by President Jayna Karpinski-Costa and Vice President Natalee Price. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of Each Month at the Sylvan Community Center, 7521 Community Dr.
  • Area 11, Birdcage Heights, is led by President Jodi Ash, Vice President Joan Pederson, Treasurer Treston Shull, Secretary Mary Slocum, and Directors Jeff Horn, Caryl Sheehan, and Kathy Wright. Meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month at the Century 21 office at 7919 Pebble Beach Dr.

Like local news? Sign up for The Sentinel’s free Weekend Edition to get one email each Sunday with all local news and no spam, ever. (Click here)