WEST SACRAMENTO -- Thirty years ago, the separate communities of Bryte, Broderick, West Sacramento and Southport chose to merge into one city with an industrial base.
Now, high-tech industrial parks are part of the landscape -- Southport is a largely suburban community and Washington Square in Broderick caters to urban dwellers who value quality-of-life amenities. And the Bridge District near Raley Field has plenty of room to expand.
"Thirty years ago I heard people say, you live in West Sacramento? Now you hear people say you live in West Sacramento, that's where everything's happening," said Chris White, the board of directors chair for the West Sacramento Chamber of Commerce.
Boosterism will be in high gear Wednesday night as awards are given out for signature projects that define the city, urban farms that bring fresh produce to residents and the re-purposing of rundown neighborhoods into prime commercial real estate.
"As we celebrate our 30th year in West Sacramento, things are looking very bright," White said.
But like all cities, the shadow of homelessness persists. Crimes and gangs are still a cloud over older neighborhoods, and unemployment is high for a city that touts high-tech industries.
But that too will be addressed Wednesday night when the mayor outlines the city's "Kids' Home Run" initiative. A voter-approved tax increase will be used to shepherd school kids from pre-kindergarten through junior college, complete with high school internships, vocational training and free tuition. The city will also contribute to family college savings plans.
"Our kids being ready for the workforce before they graduate from high school is critical ... It's going to pop this city and the school district," said Linda Luna, superintendent Washington Unified School District.