This guest opinion piece was submitted by Citrus Heights resident Norman Hill, who is the president of Preserve Our Civic Center. In 2015, Hill’s organization sued the City of Citrus Heights over the new city hall and medical office building project. The lawsuit was settled in 2016, with consideration of a potential replacement rose garden listed among the terms of the settlement agreement.
On November 16, the City of Citrus Heights held a public meeting seeking input about possibly having a rose garden at city hall. Unfortunately, few people attended.
When the city demolished the old city hall, the beautiful, geometric rose garden was lost. A show piece at Fountain Square Nursery, the formal garden was square, crossed by paths, and focused on a fountain in the center. Weddings and other special events were held there. After the city bought the nursery site for its first city hall, the city administration showed little interest in the garden and allowed it to deteriorate. At least one volunteer group offered to maintain the garden, but was rebuffed.
During public information meetings about using the site for a medical office building and building a new city hall elsewhere, people lamented losing the rose garden. During those meetings, city staff said that the city would create a new rose garden and solicited ideas for good locations. But when the environmental impact report for the Medical Office Building/New City Hall Project came out, the rose garden proposal was missing. Before bulldozing the area, the city had a yard sale selling off the statuary, fountain, and plantings. The city wanted the garden gone with no concern for retaining features for a replacement garden.
Failure to address the rose garden was one issue raised in the lawsuit challenging the environmental process for the project. As part of the settlement of that lawsuit, the parties agreed that (1) the city would hold a public meeting to discuss a replacement rose garden supported at least in part by volunteers and (2) the city council would make the ultimate decision about whether to expend any public funds for a rose garden.
City staff are now working on a proposal to put before the city council early in 2017. The idea is to locate a new rose garden at the new city hall just outside the community room at the south east corner of the building by the post office. The public still has an opportunity to present ideas to city staff and can submit comments to the city’s facilities and landscape manager by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a city less than 20 years old, Citrus Heights has few reminders of its history. We celebrate some historical features in the city, such as Sylvan School and San Juan High School. A rose garden at city hall would help remind people of the history of Fountain Square and help explain the reason for the name of the street running through our civic center. The garden would help people recall the now lost beauty of the formal rose garden at Fountain Square.
To help retain memories of the rose garden, the city should consider:
1. The new garden should include reminders of the earlier garden. With limited space available east of the community room in city hall, there is not enough space for a formal rose garden with paths modeled after the old one at Fountain Square Nursery, so a smaller garden could be accepted.
2. Roses should be the main feature of the garden, but other plants could be included as well.
3. The layout should allow multiple uses to maximize the public benefits from the garden. The layout should allow enough space so the area can be used for weddings and for breaks during events in the community room.
4. The new garden should include a fountain similar to the old fountain that stood in the middle of the square, formal rose garden. That fountain led to the name “Fountain Square.” A fountain much like the old one would fit along the eastern edge of the garden.
5. Because the city may use volunteers for much of the routine maintenance of the garden, the layout should allow ease of maintenance. Enough space should be provided between roses so people can get around the plants for dead-heading and pruning.
6. Decorative benches should be included to allow people to sit and enjoy the beauty.
7. Plantings should be selected to provide seasonal color all year.
8. The layout should promote a beautiful view from the community room.
9. Climbing roses should be planted along the eastern fence to filter the view of the parking lot.
10. In keeping with our name, Citrus Heights, a freeze tolerant citrus tree could be planted in a corner.
11. To promote water conservation, drip irrigation should be used.
12. Public art in the garden should stress simplicity, durability, and ease of maintenance. To increase community involvement, the city could solicit school class projects or competitions for designs or art work.
Members of the public are encouraged to present more ideas to help the city develop its proposal for a new rose garden at city hall.
-Norman Hill, President
Preserve Our Civic Center
Guest Opinion -- On November 16, the City of Citrus Heights held a public meeting seeking input about possibly having a rose garden at City Hall. Unfortunately, few people attended.
When the city demolished the old city hall, the beautiful, geometric rose garden was lost. A show piece at Fountain Square Nursery, the formal garden was square, crossed by paths, and focused on a fountain in the center.
Thanks for reading The Sentinel. You are either trying to access subscribers-only content or you have reached your limit of 4 free articles per 30 days. Click here to sign in or subscribe.