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City of Santa Cruz unveils draft for Downtown Plan Expansion

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KION-TV)- The City of Santa Cruz is asking people to weigh in on proposed plans for future redevelopment in the downtown area south of Laurel Street.

City officials said some of the goals include providing more affordable and market-rate housing, creating more public amenities and improving connection the San Lorenzo River and beaches.

Part of the plan includes economic opportunities for businesses and workers and coordinating with the Santa Cruz Warriors to build a permanent arena in Downtown.

The city of Santa Cruz wants to extend what's considered the downtown area to south of the depot park roundabout.

"To create a lot of wonderful new housing opportunities for folks in the downtown area where they have to drive less and they can walk to more amenities and they can get to the beach easily," Sarah Neuse senior planner for city of Santa Cruz said.

However, people say they're worried more development will mean more traffic and less parking.

“If they have a function over at the Kaiser Permanente Arena, it wipes out all the parking for the locals," William Fly who lives in Scotts Valley said.

“I'm concerned about traffic which is already heavy and congested," Ronald Lezak who lives in Aptos said.

Plans also include an expansion for the Santa Cruz Warriors arena.

The new locaiton would have nearly 2,000 new seats.

“Facility that the Warriors play out of currently was always intended to be temporary and it is really just reaching the end of its sort of functional lifespan," Neuse said. "They’re interested in staying in the community and staying anchored here."

The downtown plan also aims to make beaches more accessible, create new opportunities for businesses, and add more affordable housing.

“Housing really affects us students here, a lot of us get financial aid but housing in Santa Cruz has been pretty high for pretty long now," Michael Bowe UCSC student said.

“Right now we are looking for an apartment or a little house somewhere or something and it is very difficult to find housing now," Gina Oliano who lives in Scotts Valley said.

The city is also considering transforming Spruce street into a community plaza to accommodate outdoor dining.

"We can connect that plaza up to our riverwalk and really create a wonderful gathering place for our community," Neuse said.

The plan will be discussed at 5:30pm on Tuesday, June 18th at Santa Cruz city hall.

Public comments will be accepted until July 10.

If you are interested in sending public feedback, you can email City Senior Planner Sarah Neuse at

For more information on the draft, click here.

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Derrick Ow

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