Archive for the ‘Past Events’ Category

Fourth of July Fun in the Neighborhood

July 18, 2011

Once again this year, the annual Fourth of July Block Party brought some red, white & blue fun to the heart of the Newton Booth/Poverty Ridge neighborhood.  So without further ado, let’s see the photos!

As in past years, local musicians performed their original music live…

…while others were throwin’ down some tasty food on the grill:



Kids were cycling, tots playing in wading pools, while old-time neighbors and newcomers were chatting and enjoying the evening.  And after dark, the sparklers came out…

…and of course the fireworks:

A fun time was had.  If you missed it, come on out next year!  As I said in an earlier post, what better way to celebrate America than to have some fun and get to know the people in your own community?


Sacramento Press Reports on Country Day School Presentation

November 24, 2009

Jonathan Mendick at the local online newspaper, Sacramento Press, published an article on November 19 about the possible arrival next year of Sacramento Country Day School into the historic Newton Booth School in our neighborhood (see our last post).  Jonathan gave a good write-up of the November 18 NBNA Meeting, so here is the article.

Sac Country Day School Moving to Neighborhood

November 24, 2009

First of all, dear Readers, a thousand apologies for delaying so long in posting again.  (You would not believe the housecleaning and laundry jobs I’ve had to do lately… )  In all seriousness, I want this to be a blog that’s updated regularly, and I feel badly whenever I am unable to fulfill that aim.  So I apologize.

The historic Newton Booth School building (at V Street between 26th and 27th Streets).

Now, then:  The big news from last week’s Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association meeting at Temple Coffeehouse on November 18, is that Sacramento Country Day School, a 45-year-old private PK-12 school located in the Sierra Oaks neighborhood, is drawing closer to opening a new high school campus in the historic Newton Booth School building at 2600 V Street–right here in the Newton Booth neighborhood.

Sacramento Country Day School, which enrolls nearly 500 students from preschool to 12th grade, has been looking for a second campus for nearly two decades.  According to Headmaster Stephen Repsher, Country Day School officials learned about the vacancy at the Newton Booth School in early 2008.  Built in the 1920s, the Newton Booth School was closed in the 1970s due to the high cost of retrofitting the building to protect against earthquakes.  After the building was reinforced in 1984, it served as an office building for the environmental consulting firm Jones & Stokes until 2007, when Jones & Stokes moved to a new location downtown.

The ornate (by today's standards) doorway to the Newton Booth Assembly building, near the corner of 27th and V Streets.

If all goes well, Sacramento Country Day School wants to open the new high school campus on August 30, 2010.  The new campus would host about 152 high school students, and initially only occupy the first floor of the Newton Booth School building.  In future decades, Repsher said, Country Day School hopes to add as many as 100-200 additional high school students, possibly opening up the second floor of the building to accommodate them.

The next step will be for Sacramento Country Day School to present its plans to the City of Sacramento Planning Commission in January.  According to Country Day School, Mayor Kevin Johnson and the Councilmember for the neighborhood, Rob Fong, were supportive of the proposal, and the Planning Commission did not indicate any unforeseen obstacles.  Country Day School is also in the process of raising the necessary funds for the new campus.

“We’re just so excited about this opportunity,” Repsher told the NBNA Board meeting on the 18th.  “Everyone at the School is buzzing about it.”  A group of as many as a dozen current Country Day School students attended the meeting, and also expressed their excitement.  NBNA Board President Bud Halliday and newly elected Secretary Alex Zabelin had warm words for Sacramento Country Day School’s future arrival in the neighborhood, indicating it would be a good addition and a fitting tenant for the historic Newton Booth School.

For more information about Sacramento Country Day School, please visit their website, or call (916) 481-8811.

Photos from the Tapestri Square Event

October 26, 2009

Everyone:  Your blogger has finally gotten the pictures back from the October 18 Neighborhood Event at Tapestri Square.

Unfortunately the photos do not give a better sense of the flow of people who came to the event during the day.  However, they do show a little bit of what they saw.  Please enjoy this brief visual recap of our event.

tapestri event 01

Visitors stop by the table of Whitworth Cycles (2311 S Street), one of a number of neighborhood businesses participating in the event.

tapestri event 02

Another view of the tables at the event in front of Tapestri Square, along T Street.

tapestri event 03

Caterers from Vizcaya (21st and U Streets) display their delicious array of food and scrumptious cupcakes, in the kitchen of one of Tapestri's model homes.

tapestri event 04

NBNA Board member Alex Ives, performing lovely music on harp, while visitors tour an elegant model home.

tapestri event 05

NBNA Board member Ann Hamilton, greeting visitors in the downstairs garage area of one of Tapestri's model homes.

tapestri event 06

NBNA Board President Bud Halliday, at a table with information about Tapestri Square homes.

Many thanks to Tapestri Square for co-hosting this event; and a big thanks to all the local businesses who participated!  We really appreciate all you did to make this event successful.

Neighborhood Event at Tapestri Square Was a Hit!

October 22, 2009

Several dozen visitors made it to the Neighborhood Event at Tapestri Square last Sunday, October 18–and by all accounts, it was a success.  In spite of unexpectedly overcast skies and the occasional few drops from the sky, people came and enjoyed the tours of Tapestri’s home models; the free food, wine and cheese, and harp music; and learning about what our local businesses have to offer.

The Event, co-sponsored by Tapestri Square and the Newton Booth Neighborhoods Association, brought together neighbors to look at a new housing development that’s both innovative in its architecture (with steps to the street somewhat resembling the famous New York brownstone homes) and elegant in its interior designs.  Alex Ives, a member of the NBNA Board, provided harp music for guests at the main Tapestri model home above the sales office.  In the same model home, Vizcaya, a local wedding, reception, and corporate events facility, provided exquisite hors d’oeuvres and desserts; while in another model, local restaurants Sweetwater and Tuli also provided free food.  In a garage area below a third model home, Revolution Wines provided some of their wines to sample, along with cheese, crackers and fruit from the Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.  (A full list of the event’s sponsors can be found in our previous posts about this event.)

Unfortunately, your Blogger does not yet have pictures of the event.  My digital camera went haywire last week…so I’ve been catapulted back to 20th century photographic technology.  That means I had to finish shooting the entire roll of film, and now have to take it to get developed, before I can upload them to the Neighborhood Blog.  I hope to post some pictures of the event here soon.

In the meantime, in the spirit of our Neighborhood Event, please take a little time one of these days to take a walk and look around the Poverty Ridge/Newton Booth/Alhambra Triangle neighborhood–and check out the interesting local businesses, large and small, that have so much to offer.  And if you meet a neighbor on the way, be sure to stop and say “Hello.”

Infill Development – Local Architect Shares His Opinions

August 29, 2009
Local architect Bruce Monighan (standing, toward the right) discusses an infill project at the UDA Design Dialogue on August 26.

Local architect Bruce Monighan (standing, toward the right) discusses an infill project at the UDA Design Dialogue on August 26.

In recent years infill development – the creation of new housing, stores and other buildings within already established neighborhoods – has become a hot topic for many neighborhoods in Sacramento, including our own.  On August 26, local architect Bruce Monighan addressed some of the issues surrounding infill, in a Dialogue sponsored by the Sacramento chapter of the Urban Design Alliance, at the American Institute of Architects building at 1400 S Street in Sacramento.  In a wide-ranging discussion with the approximately 35 or so people in attendance, which included some architects, planners and public officials, but also plenty of other interested citizens, Monighan laid out some of the challenges that face architects and urban planners in creating new developments that are positive contributions to exisiting neighborhoods.

Monighan clearly accepted the fact that infill development is going to happen in Sacramento – referring to the Sacramento Area Council of Governments’ 2004 Regional Blueprint, and the City of Sacramento’s own recently updated General Plan, both of which call for more extensive infill development in existing neighborhoods in order to rein in urban sprawl.  In addition to decreasing urban sprawl, Monighan pointed to other advantages of infill, including more efficient use of existing infrastructure; decrease in transportation needs, both public and personal (due to more compact housing development in close-in neighborhoods and less need for highways to the suburbs); and the promotion of more vibrant, “24-hour” urban centers.

So what are the disadvantages to infill?  Monighan identified several challenges, including that infill projects are more expensive to build; infill sites are sometimes constricted in available space; additional transportation and vehicle parking issues have to be addressed; and the need for architects and developers to “respond to the context” of the neighborhood – in other words, to create a development that fits into the “character” of the neighborhood.  This relates to what Monighan suggested was the greatest challenge for infill development: that existing residents of a neighborhood have particular, sometimes strongly-held, expectations about what their neighborhood is and should continue to be in the future.

In the planning of new infill projects, Monighan identified three possible options for architects and developers:  (1) Emulate existing buildings in the neighborhood – create a faithful replica of existing historic designs that predominate there; (2) Reinterpret existing buildings – create buildings that pay homage to historic designs, but incorporate current design styles as well; (3) Contrast with existing buildings – put up a building with a radically different design as a deliberate contrast to existing structures. 

Monighan then showed slides of several infill projects he’d worked on, and illustrated his preference for the second option – reinterpreting past designs with current architecture.  The look of a new building at the sidewalk level is particularly important, he suggested.  However, he expressed his dislike for attempts to incorporate historic design elements – for example, Victorian pitched roofs and horizontal lines on the fronts of houses – when they seem phony on the new building.  Monighan called this “faux historicism,” or a false attempt to be “historic.”

How does one define the “character” of a neighborhood?  Monighan said that a neighborhood’s character goes well beyond how the buildings look – it’s about how people live and work there, how people move around, the scale of the neighborhood, and many other factors.  Architects and planners, he said, should be asking themselves how people live in an interact with a place – and how they can support people living with broader, longer-term changes in the economy and environment.  City codes that prescribe certain designs for particular neighborhoods, he said, miss the point – architects have to worry about getting all the details right, but may still miss the “soul” of a place.

Neighbors, too, have a responsibility to be more open-minded about the design of new developments, Monighan suggested.  If existing residents have a narrow-minded expectation of what their neighborhood should be, he said, it will be difficult for architects and developers to create better buildings that make a positive contribution, rather than simply copying the existing style.  One attendee, Barry Wasserman (a member of the City’s Planning Commission), seemed to agree, saying the question should be posed as to whether a new building improves the neighborhood or hurts it.  Remember, Wasserman said, that a new building will probably outlast what’s around it, and indeed may be there about 100 years or more – so it’s very important that it make a positive contribution!

Or, as Monighan also put it, “I would rather see neighbors argue for quality and style rather than [simply] replication of existing design.”  Neighbors with preconceived notions about what’s right, he said, are sometimes trying to replicate the “face” of the neighborhood, rather than the “soul” of it.

In response to a questioner who asked why we don’t simply let the architects decide these questions, since they are the design experts, Monighan also held his own profession accountable.  Architects can also get it wrong, he said; and unfortunately too many of them don’t care enough about the neighborhoods they’re building in, or the legacy they will leave.  Architects have too often taken some “easy solutions,” he said, and need to do much better in the future.  In response to a different question, Monighan also criticized some aspects of modern buildings, saying that some of them are too “anti-detail” and too antiseptic, uninteresting to look at, with nothing to engage people.

The next Urban Design Alliance Dialogue will take place downtown at the Crest Theatre (1013 K Street), on Wednesday, September 30.  The topic will be K Street – development issues, the streetscape, and of course the issue of whether to bring back cars.  It should be a great discussion that ought not to be missed – and we’ll be sure to post further details about it here.

Neighborhood Welcomes Temple Coffeehouse

July 21, 2009

Dozens of residents from the neighborhood and around Sacramento showed up at the new Temple Fine Coffee and Tea, located at 2829 S Street, on the evening of July 18 for a Grand Opening celebration.

Temple Fine Coffee and Tea, whose main location is at 1014 10th Street (between J and K) in downtown Sacramento, opened its new location in our neighborhood on June 29. Located in a restored brick building, the new Temple location is spacious and comfortable inside, and offers a wide variety of specialty and organic coffees and teas.

At the July 18 event, visitors crowded into the new location to enjoy fresh drinks, and to listen to live music from the delightful flute-and-guitar duo, Cathie Apple and Georgie England. (Please correct me if I’ve got the names spelled wrong…)

Located within a short walk of the 29th Street light rail station, the new Temple on S Street should be a welcome addition to the neighborhood; and lovers of all things caffeinated in Sacramento will appreciate having a new place to check out.

The Grand Opening celebration at the new Temple Fine Coffee and Tea on S Street.

The Grand Opening celebration at the new Temple Fine Coffee and Tea on S Street.

The new Temple on S Street's helpful staff...

The new Temple on S Street's helpful staff...

Live music entertainment at the July 18 event.

Live music entertainment at the July 18 event.

Fourth of July Block Party Fun!

July 20, 2009

People from around the Newton Booth neighborhood had a great time celebrating our nation’s independence at the annual 4th of July Block Party, on U Street between 25th and 26th Streets.  As in past years, neighbors grilled meat and brought food, local musicians provided live entertainment, and children played in the street (blocked off to traffic, naturally).  And of course, as it got dark, people set off plenty of fireworks and sparklers.

Here are a few pictures of the event.  I do believe a good time was had by all…

Grilling meat at the U Street 4th of July Block Party

Grilling meat at the U Street 4th of July Block Party

Local musicians provide front-porch live music entertainment.

Local musicians provide front-porch live music entertainment.

Neighbors enjoy some fun with sparklers.

Neighbors enjoy some fun with sparklers.

Fireworks crackling in the night.

Fireworks crackling in the night.