In The Mix – Downtown Revitalization (Re-Cap)

Metro EDGE member MacKenzie Woodard talks about her experience at June's "In the Mix" event.

I don’t live in Downtown Sacramento. I don’t even work in Downtown Sacramento. But like anyone else who lives and works beyond the downtown grid, I know that Downtown Sac is the place to play. It’s the area that determines the future of the region. And it’s the only place where you can get an amazing Blueberry Mojito with a colleague, make a new business connection, and get an in-person education about the future of downtown revitalization all in one evening.

I mentioned to my colleague, Eric that I was heading out of the office a bit early to head downtown. EDGE was having an event at Ella’s Dining Room and Bar, and never having been there, I was excited to give it a try. Especially during a half-priced happy hour (as a financial planner I find a good deal especially attractive!). Turns out Eric, who recently moved downtown, had never been there either and agreed to join me. So, we found ourselves at Ella Dining Room & Bar, putting their claim of having the best happy hour in Sacramento to the test – and we were not disappointed. From the famous Gin and Tonic to the Blueberry Mojitos, Ella’s delightful cocktails and elegant ambiance were a terrific break from the summer heat. This event was one of our best attended “In The Mix” nights ever, and I was very happy to be the one to introduce my friend to the idea of being a young professional, engaged in the local landscape.

After saying hello to the EDGE members I knew and meeting several that I didn’t, it was time to make a critical decision – brave the heat to go on the tour of K St with the Downtown Partnership’s Kevin Greene or stay cool at Ella. Never one to back away from a challenge, we joined the group of 20 or so “EDGErs” and headed out the door after Kevin to hear about plans to add vehicle traffic to K St, develop new mixed-use space to bring more residential and commercial business to the area, and how these types of projects can be funded. I think our event was the good luck charm that allowed some of that funding to pass a vote that very evening.

Next it was off to the Downtown Railyards to learn about the possibilities for development there. Should it be a new sports complex? Is there a better use for the area? Who is going to pay for improvements? Of course these are complicated issues, but as the next generation of Sacramento’s leaders, we are the ones who will have to live with the decisions that are being made today.

Our attempts to take Light Rail back to Ella were foiled, so we spent the walk back to the restaurant getting to know one other a little better. After discussions of business philosophies, our personal ties to the region, and our reasons for joining EDGE , business cards were exchanged and we arrived back at the restaurant with new friends and a deeper understanding of the issues at hand for the downtown area.

When I got to the office the next day I asked Eric what he thought about the event. He said he was submitting the funding request to his manager that day to pay for the membership. And so EDGE has grown by one more member, new friends have been made and a group of young professionals are now engaged in the future of Sacramento. This is exactly what makes EDGE such a great organization to be a part of!