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Napa Earthquake

The Historic Courthouse was red-tagged after a section of building fell off during the 2014 South Napa earthquake. Restoration and reoccupancy of the building should happen in 2019.

Many of the issues that made headlines in 2018 will be back in the new year for further development and deliberation.

The county will continue to deal with the fallout from the failed Measure C watershed and oak woodland protection measure. The measure was narrowly defeated on the June 2018 ballot and divided the community. Should the Board of Supervisors fail to bring the various groups together, Measure C proponents could attempt another ballot measure in 2020.

Napa County should finally decide if it will help redevelop resorts at Lake Berryessa. Talks with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation to reach an agreement proved inconclusive in 2018. The Bureau has tried and failed to redevelop five of the seven resorts on the federally owned shoreline over the last decade.

A milestone recovery project from the 2014 South Napa earthquake should be completed. Early in the year, the county will hold a grand reopening for its historic courthouse in downtown Napa.

Early in the year, the county will also open its new jail reentry facility along Highway 29. The 72-bed, $16.7 million facility is designed to help prepare low-risk inmates for their return to society so they will be less likely to end up in jail again.

Shopping, real estate

After a long-planned renovation, First Street Napa currently has 16 tenants, with more to come. Retail tenants include Lululemon, Napa Valley Jewelers, Kalifornia Jean Bar and Makers Market.

One of the newest stores at First Street Napa is Toy B Ville. The toy store will relocate to the downtown center from its original Main Street location.

In the local real estate market, “We will see more of a buyer’s market in 2019,” said Desi Capaz, a Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Drysdale Properties and chairperson of the Napa chapter of North Bay Association of Realtors.

Capaz expects that home prices will see modest gains “between 2 to 4 percent with inventory rising to closer to normal levels.”

Napa City Council

A new Napa City Council may lead to a new look at a planned downtown civic center whose cost and design became a target for opponents in the 2018 election.

Potential changes to the future city headquarters may come before the council as early as February, following discussions with staff members on a project estimated to cost more than $143 million.

Early plans for the civic center have envisioned uniting the police department and other Napa agencies within a four-story structure at 1600 First St. – replacing the Community Services Building – but critics have described it as too financially risky and ill-suited to the needs of law enforcement.

Since the Nov. 6 election to the council of Liz Alessio and Mary Luros – both skeptics of the project in its earlier forms – Napa leaders have discussed options such as alternate sites or a delay or cancellation of redeveloping the current City Hall and police station on Second Street.

Amid an increasingly free atmosphere for using, selling and distributing cannabis products in California – including the recreational variety – the city of Napa continues to move at a more measured pace.

No retail outlets for non-medical marijuana products have opened within city limits, more than two years after state voters approved the sale of smokable and edible products for recreational use. In addition, no dispensaries offering medicinal cannabis have opened locally, leaving users to continue relying on retailers in Vallejo and elsewhere.

At least seven groups have applied for clearances to run medicinal dispensaries, under an ordinance the City Council approved in late 2017. Three were on track to receive certificates to do business, according to city records: Harvest of Napa Inc. at 2441 and 2449 Second St., Korova Cannabis at 917 Enterprise Way, and The Higher Path at 1963 Iroquois St.

The Arts

In the arts, the big news will be if someone really does buy the Opera House, which has been put up for sale with restrictions. The proceeds are planned as an endowment to promote more cultural activities inside the 19th-century building.

The Napa Valley Film Festival will undergo major change following the surprise firing in November of Marc and Brenda Lhormer, who founded the festival.

Downtown Napa’s newest open space may host the valley’s newest music showcase starting this summer.

Directors of the Blue Note Napa are proposing a series of at least 15 concerts at the nearby Oxbow Commons, which opened in 2015 as a wintertime flood-relief channel for the Napa River and doubles as a public park in the warm months.

A 60-foot-square stage would be placed at the Commons’ concrete pavilion for performances – five free and the rest charging admission – that would take place from June to October, according to city recreation officials and the Blue Note, which stages concerts at the historic Napa Valley Opera House.

A Blue Note-sponsored music series at the Commons would become perhaps the most ambitious public event to date at the quarter-mile-long greensward, where Napa has increasingly moved festivals previously held on downtown streets and other parks. The Napa Valley Jazz Getaway shifted to the Commons in 2017 from Yountville, and the park also hosts Napa Humane’s Walk for Animals, the city Earth Day festival and other gatherings.

The board of directors said there would be a festival in 2019 with a new name, Cinema Napa Valley.

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Register reporters Barry Eberling, Howard Yune and Jennifer Huffman, and features editor Sasha Paulsen contributed to this story.


City Editor

Kevin has been city editor since September 2010. He joined the Register in 1973 as a reporter. He covered Napa City Hall and assorted other beats over the years. Kevin has been writing his Napa Journal column on Sundays since 1989.