Just in time for the outdoor season the city of Folsom recently celebrated the opening of the new urban park entertainment venue in Folsom’s Historic District. Construction crews had worked through several days of heavy rains to complete the project.
The public plaza and amphitheater are seen as an outdoor living room, where people can gather and socialize or enjoy events. The venue is part of the Historic Folsom Station, a block of mixed public and private development across from the Light Rail Station between Sutter and Leisdesdorff streets.
The Historic Folsom Station is part of the redevelopment of Folsom’s Historic District.
The complex includes the Historic District parking structure, the railroad museum and turntable, and Pioneer Village outdoor living history museum. The Folsom Chamber of Commerce will be moving from the train depot. The depot building will become part of the railroad exhibit. Four privately-owned historic-themed buildings with residential, retail, restaurant and office spaces are scheduled for construction.
A large crowd filled the 300-seat amphitheater and stood along Sutter Street to view the official opening that began at 5 p.m. on a beautiful sunny day.
As people gathered, a pair of jugglers entertained young and old alike. The Eastern Ways Chinese Lion Dancers led the official festivities.
Local officials welcomed the audience, emphasizing that the new community gathering place is the result of the people’s investment of tax dollars and volunteer time.
City Manager Evert Palmer said he anticipates that residents and visitors will enjoy it for many years to come. Mayor Kerri Howell invited the audience to stay and enjoy this season’s initial Second Saturday, as the stores and restaurants in the Historic District stay open until late.
Jim Snook, president of the Folsom Historic District Business Association gave credit to a residential neighbor for suggesting that the amphitheater face east so the audience doesn’t look into the setting sun.
City Councilman and former mayor Jeff Starsky appealed to everyone to email Gov. Jerry Brown and urge him not to take the redevelopment investment in Folsom and sell it to a private party. “Folsom spent its redevelopment money wisely, and this belongs to all of us,” he said.
Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan lauded Folsom as a “Can-do city.”
Other speakers were Vice Mayor Steve Miklos, City Councilmembers Andy Morin and Ernie Sheldon, and Joe Gagliardi, CEO of the Folsom Chamber of Commerce and Folsom Economic Development Corporation.
Following the ribbon cutting, the Mighty Cash Cats Johnny Cash tribute band entertained. Children stood in line for a chance to pump the handcar on the track of the turntable with encouragement from Folsom El Dorado and Sacramento Historical Railroad Association volunteers.
The summer weekly Farmer’s Market begins in the Public Plaza on Sunday, June 10. On Saturday, June 23, the Folsom History Museum will open the newly designed and expanded Pioneer Village. The Cattle Drive, the kickoff event of the Folsom Pro Rodeo, will pass by the Historic Folsom Station on Thursday, June 28.
For more information visit historicfolsom.org.