Here are SCL’s news and notes for Friday, March 8th. Today I discuss Coach Bob Thomason’s final game at the Spanos Center, new Brownfields program legislation, the search for a new City Hall and more. Have a great weekend!
Bob Thomason coaching last game in Stockton
This Saturday, longtime Pacific men’s basketball coach Bob Thomason will lead the Tigers into the Spanos Center for the final time when UOP faces first-place Long Beach State. Thomason will retire at the end of this season after 25 years with Pacific. The coach has racked up 432 wins during his career (including last night’s victory over UC Irvine), tied for 84th in NCAA Division I history. Thomason is also the Big West’s all-time wins leader.
Thomason has brought a lot of positive exposure to Stockton, leading Pacific to multiple NCAA tournament appearances, upsetting teams from premier conferences, and even producing the NBA’s first overall draft pick– Michael Olowokandi– back in 1998. Easily a local legend, Thomason is widely respected across the country, with numerous articles on his retirement running on national outlets such as ESPN, Yahoo Sports, and even out here in the Washington Post.
The 64-year old Thomason has essentially spent his entire life in Stockton and isn’t afraid to stand up for the city.
“I love the school so much. I even love the town of Stockton, which takes a lot of abuse for how bad a town it is. It’s been fantastic.” Thomason said in a recent AP article.
Thomason has surely been wooed by other teams in more prestigious conferences and bigger media markets, but he has stayed true to Pacific, giving Stockton NCAA-tournament quality basketball year-in and year-out. I sincerely hope that the Spanos Center is packed to the rafters on Saturday to show our appreciation for Thomason’s great career.
New federal legislation will help revitalize communities
Yesterday, a bipartisan group of US Senators introduced the Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development (BUILD) Act. The bill not only reauthorizes the EPA Brownfields program, but also includes a series of program enhancements designed to help cities transform blighted areas into community assets.
The Brownfield program is crucial to community and economic development by offering funds for older industrial site cleanup. In Stockton, Brownfield funds were used to help build Dean DeCarli Square. The BUILD Act expands upon the program, raising the funding ceiling for clean up grants and allowing greater elibility for non profits, among other things. A good summary of the bill’s provisions can be found at Smart Growth America. Let’s hope it has a smooth passage.
City mulls Cort Tower space for new City Hall
Yesterday, city officials took a tour of Cort Tower, which Cort Companies is offering up as a temporary City Hall. Cort Companies is offering to rent the space at $.99 cents per square foot while also footing the bill for building improvements.
“They were all pretty poker faced today, but they seemed appreciative,” said President Dan Cort of the city officials. “This is a marvelous opportunity for the city to remain in the heart of downtown. We feel that we were able to address all of their concerns.”
Cort, who isn’t shy about his disdain for the city’s suburban growth pattern, reiterated his desire for a more-dense downtown that can eventually support more retail and even residential development.
Aside from Cort Tower, officials are supposedly considering the former Washington Mutual building on Main Street, which the city owned before losing it to foreclosure. The city should make a final decision in the coming weeks.
Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau set to move into historic B&M Building
Cort is also working on getting tenants for the B&M Building between the Hotel Stockton and the cineplex. The Stockton Convention and Visitors Bureau will be the first to move in, possibly in just 60 days, according to Cort. Aside from the Bureau, Cort Companies is also working on bringing a specialty food market/restaurant to the ground level as well as a jazz venue in conjunction with Pacific’s Brubeck Institute.
The Asparagus Festival gets a Southwest shout out
Lastly, our very own Asparagus Festival is featured in the events section of Southwest Airlines’ Spirit magazine. The plug can be read here. It’s nice to see our local shindig garnering attention alongside festivals in Los Angeles, New Orleans, Atlanta and Portland, especially in a publication that reaches tens of thousands of travelers.