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Planning Day: Class 35 – Attitude of Gratitude

January 30, 2023 12:54 PM | Anonymous

Program Day: December 2, 2022

It was no surprise that Planning Day was expertly planned.
Throughout the day we were taken on a literal and figurative ride through the city planning process, guided by our local experts. Jeri Hansen, Principal of the Jeri Hansen Company and President & CEO of the Napa Chamber of Commerce, kept the class on track to follow the agenda as we embarked on a roundtable discussion with professionals. The morning began with an introduction to city planning by Vin Smith, Community Development Director and Brian Bordona, Interim Director. They walked us through the nuts and bolts of a city plan having just completed the lengthy and arduous process in 2022.

Next, we engaged in in-depth small group roundtable discussions with experts in housing (Molly Rattigan, Deputy City Manager at City of Napa), architecture (Steven Cuddy, Managing Partner at Napa Design Partners), economic development (Neal Harrison, Economic Development Manager at City of Napa), and transportation (Danielle Schimtz, Director at Napa Valley Transportation Authority). We had a crash course on the real estate development of downtown Napa and how it’s evolved by Andrew Mazotti (Real Estate Investor), who played an integral role in developing downtown Napa into the burgeoning center of activity that it’s evolved into in recent years.

Our busy morning ended with lunch and a belated birthday celebration for Mayor Jill.

To walk off our delicious lunch from Imagination On Fire (a popular local food truck), Class 35 trekked through downtown to explore the inside of the Second Street Post office that was rocked off its foundation during the 2014 Napa earthquake. We cautiously entered the multi-level 1920s post office building on Second Street. We stepped through cracked walls, over abandoned personal items, and surveyed the dim basement offices. We were enamored by the ghostliness of the property and the stunning surviving art deco features just waiting to be brought back to life.

Class members returned to the Soscol Gateway Transit Center to form charrettes. The Class was challenged to redevelop the Post Office site while preserving the historical 1920’s architectural facade, but include retail, hospitality and community uses. Our plans were put to the test as groups presented and defended their designs in front of a panel of planning commission experts including Beverly Shotwell (Planning Commissioner), Mike Basayne (Lead Business Advisor) and City of Napa Councilmember, Beth Painter.

The packed day was enjoyed and appreciated by Class 35. We left more knowledgeable and engaged about the city planning and development processes and all the hard work our local professionals invest in making Napa the city that we love.

Class 35 Planning Day Gratitude Team members: 

Emily Darlington - Early Childhood Services Coordinator, Napa County Office of Education
Kelly Engel - Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley
Alberto Esqueda - Senior Program Planner – Administrator, NVTA

About this post:
The purpose of the Attitude of Gratitude program is (1) to thank our extraordinary Day Coordinators who provide the information and experiences that make each of the program days exceptional, and (2) to reflect on what has changed for the class members as a result of their participation in Leadership Napa Valley. For each of the class program days, a gratitude team is assigned to make sure all the individuals responsible for coordinating, facilitating, and presenting the day are thanked.


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