Stockton’s trek down AB 506 is unprecedented. However, its financial collapse was not unearned. Years of spending left the city with huge debt services that are forcing the city’s hand.
The forced revitalization – highlighted by the downtown arena, minor league baseball stadium, and marina – are now lightning rods for residents and employee anger. The city’s parking structure may even be repossessed. The new city hall stands vacant as the city can’t afford the cost of moving in. In all, the city is sitting on $319 million in debts.
The city went from a mostly stagnant Central Valley city to a city possessed by the housing boom as Bay Area residents sought cheaper alternatives. That led to a plethora of new home construction, and along with it fees and taxes associated with a 20 percent population increase.
The city then turned to redeveloping the downtown to control crime and heighten appeal. But when the economy soured, the best-laid plans of the city went belly up.
In 2005, Stockton, California, unveiled a gleaming new arena and ballpark on its riverfront, part of a $145 million plan to draw people downtown. The city east of San Francisco, a shipping hub for wine and almonds, is now negotiating with creditors to stave off bankruptcy.
The 10,000-seat arena, a glass-walled symbol of the city’s fight against a soaring crime rate and downtown blight, was one piece of a redevelopment boom that also saw the addition of a 5,000-seat minor league ballfield, a 650-space parking garage, a 66-slip marina and the purchase of an eight-story City Hall.
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