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Beautification Work Scaled Back
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Riverbank has awarded the contract for downtown beautification but with several cuts in the original plan due to falling property tax revenues and the slowing economy.

In Thursday's special meeting, Aug. 28, the redevelopment agency awarded the job to Sierra Nevada Construction Inc., which bid $4,374,007 to do the project's second phase. The agency also appropriated an eight percent construction contingency amount of $349,920.

Mayor Chris Crifasi said he was eager to see the project go ahead and impressed with the possibilities of making the downtown more attractive to visitors.

"I don't want to renege on our promises. But I also don't want to see the city go bankrupt by drawing on general funds to cover the redevelopment agency's work," he added in advising fiscal caution.

The improvements, which could be complete in six months, will include a public park named the Plaza del Rio at Third and Santa Fe streets, several traffic roundabouts and street features such as trees, decorative paving, benches and trash cans.

The first phase, which has seen the streets torn up for many months, covered a compete reconstruction of the infrastructure including replacement of storm water, sewer and water lines.

City Director of Economic Development and Housing Tim Ogden explained to agency members that to stay within budget it would be necessary to proceed in phases.