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Junction monument comes together

New structure part of revitalization project, though some question cost
By: Megan Wood The Press Tribune
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Once referred to as simply confusing, the intersection of Vernon Street, Douglas Boulevard and Riverside Avenue now has a landmark and a proper name. A $280,000 monument designed to resemble a train trestle was installed last week at the intersection now dubbed “Roseville Junction.” But some are questioning the city’s expense during tough economic times. “Roseville Junction, what’s that supposed to mean,” said Lisa Perry who was out walking her grandson when she stumbled on the new monument that was erected last week. Perry said in theory the monument sounded like a good idea, but wondered if it was the best use of the city’s money in today’s economy. “I understand that it looks nice and will give people something to identify with, but is that the wisest use of the money?” Perry asked. “There are streets that could be repaved, potholes that can be filled in. I think residents care more about those.” The monument is part of the Riverside Streetscape project, which also includes new signage along Riverside Avenue that illustrates Roseville’s history and points out historic landmarks. “The monument is part of a bigger revitalization project of the downtown area,” said Kevin Payne, assistant director of Roseville’s planning and redevelopment agency. “In the past 10 years the city has invested about $78 million for the downtown area. That includes the rehabilitation of the parking structure, the new civic center building and the streetscape enhancement projects.” The newest installment to the downtown revitalization project is a large streetside monument of a train trestle emblazoned with “Roseville Junction” - an homage to Roseville’s early beginning as a community. “Roseville was originally called Junction and was just that, a junction between Folsom and Lincoln,” said lifelong resident and architect Dave Piches, who designed the structure. “It seemed an appropriate name for the intersection because the place where Riverside Avenue, Douglas Boulevard and Vernon Street meets is a junction of those streets.” Piches said the proximity to the railroad, Roseville’s founding industry, also made it an ideal spot for the monument. Topping the train trestle monument is a compass, modeled after a gyroscope indicating the intersection and direction of the three streets. “I’ve always heard that Roseville is difficult to navigate around,” Piches said. “That’s the reason for the gyroscope, you can see where the streets intersect and their relationship with one another. The idea became an orientation point to navigate around.” Justin Dent, owner of JD’s Handyman Service, thought the monument was unnecessary and looked out of place. “The city can’t complain about not having enough money when things like this are put up,” Dent said. “I think it should be at the North Pole or something.” Following the “if you build it, they will come” hope, Payne said the downtown revitalization projects are meant to provide an ambiance in the downtown area and provide landmarks for residents and businesses. “Look at the Fountains or the Galleria, they have created a sense of place with iconic landmarks that people have come to know and associate with the destination,” Payne said. “The revitalization committee has worked diligently to plan a series of feature elements at various points of downtown to create focal features and a sense of place.” The hope being that the monuments and streetscape projects will attract residents and tourists and promote business in the downtown area, said city officials. In 2008, the city completed a $13 million revitalization project in Historic Old Town adding a plaza street feature at the Main Street and Lincoln Street intersection, a water tower and rail yard viewing platform. Since its completion, Payne said 10 new businesses have moved into Historic Old Town. Merissa Studebaker, general manager of All in One Pest Control in downtown Roseville, thought the monument would attract more residents and tourists to downtown, but said she would have preferred to see the funds used to revitalize the buildings in downtown. “What good is more business in downtown going to do if the buildings are falling down?” Studebaker said. “I think (the monument) looks nice and will be a great landmark for downtown, but I’d like to see the businesses in downtown see some of that revitalization too.” A reception for the Roseville Junction monument is being planned for mid-March. Megan Wood can be reached at meganw@goldcountrymedia.com