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City, chamber lauded for economic development

Downtown master plan wins award
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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A recent downtown Loomis improvement project has garnered a statewide economic-development advocacy group’s attention.

The downtown master plan’s Phase 1 was finished in September. California Association for Local Economic Development recognized the town and Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce for that work at a May 8 Town Council meeting.

The project, funded by a state grant, included sidewalk improvements along Taylor Road between Horseshoe Bar Road and Walnut Road, new bicycle lanes and new crosswalks. Phase II will improve sidewalks on Taylor Road between Horseshoe Bar Road and King Road.

Gurbax Sahota, the association’s president/CEO, said the award is given out to promote and support what communities are doing well.

“Sometimes, it is difficult for everyone to be on the same page locally. Projects can be controversial,” Sahota said. “This award recognizes when a community is doing the right thing and several things were happening correctly in Looms.”

The project showed leadership, community partnerships and support for local businesses, according to Sahota. The project’s website, IdigLoomis, was also mentioned.

“There was one website with all of the construction updates, progress reports and information on available parking,” Sahota said. “It shows they care about the community and local businesses. It sets a tone.”

The care taken to inform the community about the project’s progress could help lure commercial opportunities to Loomis, Sahota added.

“Businesses looking to relocate want to know how local businesses are treated,” Sahota said. “Also, it stood out that this was the largest investment in an improvement project in Loomis in 30 years. These types of projects may be difficult but they’re important.”

Chamber executive director Jenny Knisley was proud of the Economic Development Promotion Award of Merit.

“We are honored to have received the Economic Development Promotion Award of Merit from the California Association for Local Economic Development (CALED),” Knisley said. “The IdigLoomis Campaign shows how the Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce works with the town of Loomis to be a champion for business and for our community.”

Loomis Town Manager Sean Rabe said it is important for the town and local businesses to have a strong relationship.

“The town is extremely proud to have CALED recognize the partnership between the town and our business community through this award,” Rabe said. “This project and the IdigLoomis campaign really shows how integral the relationships between the local government and the business community are to the overall economic success of each. The town can’t be successful if our businesses aren’t successful and the iDig Loomis campaign really cemented that.”

“The streetscape project really was the jumping-off point for the revitalization of Taylor Road and our downtown,” Rabe added. “We are seeing private business investing in our town again. We’re seeing interest in a number of our vacant buildings. This streetscape project really helped catalyze that by providing a safer, more walk-able downtown that is a pleasure to stroll through from end to end and I believe we’ll continue to see this project pay off in dividends.”

It was an “honor to get that kind of recognition,” according to Loomis Public Works director Brit Snipes.

“I’m very excited and very honored they chose us for the award,” Snipes said. “I love the fact the award celebrates teamwork. That’s exactly what the IdigLoomis campaign was, teamwork.”