“We have to better connect the main campus with the City of Sacramento," said Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg. "The distance is not that long but the psychic distance seems like hundreds of miles.”
Assemblyman Kevin McCarty is set to ask California for outlays in the millions of dollars to help create plans for Aggie Square, which is still in its infancy.
"So we move some of those programs from the Davis campus to Sacramento," McCarty said. "On the Davis campus we have more room for freshman graduates trying to get into the UC."
The idea is to include more than just classrooms. Housing, retail and an incubator for biotech businesses are all part of the mix.
“Economic development has to be a part of the mission of a public university like Davis," said UC Davis Chancellor Gary May.
The UC's Sacramento campus will work in concert with the medical center next door, creating a new space for students to research and build businesses in biosciences.
The campus and the electric shuttle service is going to be completed through a mix of funding from the university, private businesses, state and city dollars. The plan is championed by the May, who said he did something similar in Atlanta.
“This hub will also open up more learning and job opportunities for our undergraduates," May said. "They can perhaps even live in Sacramento and commute to Davis.”
May has been in his position less than a year and Aggie Square has been the subject of concerted planning efforts for four months.
"We feel a sense of urgency and our community feels a sense of urgency," Steinberg said. "We need to be creating the jobs now for the young people in our neighborhoods."
A stated goal of Aggie Square is to continue the ongoing Oak Park renaissance and raise the standard of living broadly in one of Sacramento’s most diverse areas.