Civic Lab Year Two Graduation Marks New Phase for Projects
October 31, 2019: Today the 12 Civic Lab Year Two teams graduated in a special ceremony at the SACOG board meeting. But the end of the formal part of the program does not mean the end of the road for the teams, who are working on pilot projects designed to bring new life to tired commercial corridors.
Civic Lab is SACOG’s accelerator program for cities to design and launch pilot projects, and in year two, the teams represent a wide range of jurisdictions, from the smallest city in the SACOG region, Isleton and its 800 residents, to the 1.5 million residents of Sacramento County. Throughout the year in monthly workshops, the teams worked to identify the key challenges facing their commercial corridors, which ranged from rural main streets to major urban thoroughfares such as Folsom Boulevard and Del Paso Boulevard. The challenges faced by some of these commercial areas are myriad — from the decline of bricks-and-mortar retail in the face of online shopping to absentee landlords to a lack of housing to missing civic services.
Then they created a vision for what they wanted from their corridors and met with private sector companies who could help them bring their visions to life. SACOG worked to pre-qualify 11 such vendors and 30 sub-vendors that all the teams could work with. Now the teams are in the implementation stage and with SACOG’s help, are looking into a range of possible funding sources for their pilot projects over the next 12 months.
Those efforts will be supported by an ad hoc task force approved by the SACOG board today. It will address challenges and identify opportunities to catalyze infill and investment in commercial corridors and funding for implementing Civic Lab Year Two pilot projects.
The longer-term goal of Civic Lab is to take the lessons learned in the pilot programs and set teams up to scale their innovative policy, land use, and mobility solutions to help transform tired commercial corridors into vibrant centers of communities where people want to live, shop, and play.