The CEO of California Forevers said the project will first create construction jobs and then permanent jobs within the development that pay above average, but not all are on board.
VALLEJO, Calif. – The developer of California Forever, a proposal for a new walkable community in Solano County, held its first town hall meeting Wednesday night.
The presentation given at the Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum turned into a venting session for many in the audience who were upset about the development.
It started with a presentation from Jan Sramek, the founder and CEO of the project that will see the formation of the newest city in California.
“We have an idea of how to make Solano County better,” Sramek said.
He invested $900 million in the purchase of 60,000 acres, 4 miles from Travis Air Force Base of mostly agricultural land in southeastern Solano County.
Many critics who showed up at the town hall didn’t want it to happen behind their backs.
“What about the Native American graves you dig up and build without even consulting us Native Americans on this land?” Marge Grow-Eppard shouted.
Sramek said the project will first create construction jobs and later permanent jobs within the development that pay above average.
Former Vallejo City Council Member Katy Miessner is concerned that the project will take away opportunities from existing communities.
“It seems from what you said about the funding from the federal government to Solano County, we get a lot of money from the homeless coming here, and we have all the homeless, and you have one shiny new. town of Rio Vista, and we got nothing,” Miessner said.
Others worry about rising taxes and urban sprawl.
“Your investment is bad, and we will not support nor shill for your project shame on you!” Vallejo native and current Benicia resident Michael Hayes said.
Sramek, a Cambridge-educated CEO who came to the US 10 years ago as a Czech immigrant, hopes the people of Solano County will be open-minded to the economic benefits.
“I think that many opponents of the project do not realize that this is a big shot in the arm of the economy,” said Sramek.
By 2030, Sramek projects that California Forever will be home to around 50,000 people and up to 400,000 in a couple of generations.
Water rights are included in the land deal.
“This is one of those places where the aquifer is inexhaustible,” Sramek said.
The houses are said to be smaller and cheaper.
The community is walkable, and people don’t have to commute to live.
But most of the dozens who attended the town hall weren’t buying it.
“We cannot afford this house, and we cannot live on the bones of our own people, but you!” Marge Grow-Eppard said.
Five more town hall meetings are planned.
Sramek plans to collect signatures to get the proposal on the November 2024 ballot.
If approved, construction would begin in 2025 or 2026.