The Fair Oaks Village Enhancement Committee began the year by deciding to continue with “Growing our Membership” as our top priority, followed by the “Create More Parking” project. Setting priorities for the year helps us decide how to allocate our resources when there is more than one demand.
Moving forward, we wanted to increase our membership to help carry out Project functions as well as organizational functions. Increasing our membership not only helps with the completion of enhancement projects but also allows us to represent a larger portion of the community. This is important in that our County Supervisors’ office apportions project dollars not only based on need but also on community representation. To that end, we planned for 2 Fundraisers and 4 Social events.
In addition to priorities, we discussed the need to have Long and Short term projects.
Long term in this context refers to a project that takes more than a year to complete while a short term project takes less than a year and usually, just a few months.
The “Create More Parking” project is our long term project created to resolve the shortage of parking spaces in the village. The project looks at all the issues that cause the shortage and identifies solutions that address each of them.
Moving forward the Project will have Phases as follows: implementation Plan Phase, Design Phase & Construction Phase. This is definitely long term. As we discovered last year with the Wayfinding Signs Update project, having a short term project keeps the community aware of FOVECs work and allows us to continue to build our relationship with the community while achieving quick wins.
Some of the proposed short term projects for 2020 were:
leasing or adopting the triangle at FO Blvd and Sunrise to build an art piece instead of an Arch Gateway.
create a plan on how to survive the next two years of Parking construction as a merchant in the Village
Provide our merchant members with a FOVEC “I’m a member” sticker
Help Create a FOV Merchants Association
Sadly, due to the disruption from the COVID-19 shutdown, none of these short-term projects were implemented.
January Pop-Up Social
Our Outreach Subcommittee formed two teams in January to go through the Village inviting Merchants to attend our Pop-Up Social at Shangri-La. The Popup Social required an RSVP due to the limited space. 21 merchants attended in addition to a number of friends of FOVEC members. Many of them joined FOVEC that same night and others shortly thereafter.
The COVID-19 Shut-down began days after our March 4, 2020 meeting.
Meetings continued Virtually
As we slowly began to realize that this was going to be a longer shut down than expected, FOVEC began holding Virtual Meetings as of May 20. Our last meeting before that was held on March 4, 2020; over two months had transpired. At first, our meetings were limited to a 40 min duration as part of our free Zoom account restriction. This impaired our ability to get much accomplished during those meetings. After a couple of months, we were finally able to get back to our regular meeting duration-time by switching to Google Meet which did not have that restriction.
FOVEC in the news
In May, the “Gold River Living” did an unsolicited good article on the Village and FOVEC. The publication is a local newspaper that circulates in Gold River, Rancho Cordova, and Fair Oaks.
Focus on providing local information
As the pandemic continued without an end in sight, we had to pivot from the events planned for the year to focus on providing local information to try to help local merchants stay in business. While our website has always provided a directory of Village Merchants we highlighted a separate list of those merchants that were Open during the pandemic and any restrictions they might have such as “Outdoor dining only”.
Our website layout continues to be tweaked every few months or so by the website content team, namely Locable's Customer Success Manager - Emma Eldridge, Nan Danford, and me (William Mercado). The issue is that as we add new categories of information we then have to decide, given the website real estate, where to place the access point for the information so that it makes sense. The idea is to make certain that the most important information can be accessed quickly.
Daneece Frazier resigned last summer as Treasurer after many years of volunteering in that position. Thank you for your service, Daneece! William asked Keith Walter to fill the position on an interim basis until our election in December. Keith did a great job!
New Organizational Structure
FOVEC has used the pandemic as an opportunity to rethink ways to more easily engage new members in the work that FOVEC does. For that reason wholesale changes were made to our Bylaws to accommodate a larger more engaged organization:
adopt a new organizational structure where a small Board manages the business of FOVEC;
lower the requirements for becoming a voting member so as to transition quickly from an associate member into a voting member;
allow voting members to elect Officers and vote to approve Bylaw changes;
add fundraising to the list of duties of the VP;
change the officer term limit from 2 years to 1 year.
TOT Grant App Program
This application was supposed to be available in August. On November 5 we were notified that the 2020 Application would be available on Nov 7 and would be due on Dec 7. In collaboration with the Park District and the help of Shelley Mathews as our Grant consultant, we were able to complete the application on time.
Passenger Pickup & Drop off
The FOVEC “Create more Parking” subcommittee held talks with the Sacramento Department of Transportation (a.k.a. SAC DOT) for the designation of a parking spot near the Founders Monument for picking up and dropping off passengers.
The intent of this designation is to encourage the use of car services such as Uber and Lyft in order to lower the number of cars that need parking spaces. This location has been chosen because of its accessibility no matter what event is going on in the Village. SAC DOT has agreed to this on a trial basis with the caveat that the designation cannot be for Uber and/or Lift only, but rather for anyone picking up or dropping off passengers. We agreed to begin the trial in 2021 once the COVID-19 situation begins to stabilize and merchant business hours are more reliable.
While we were not able to accomplish all of our goals, our members were able to find opportunities even in the middle of the pandemic.
~ William Mercado, President of Fair Oaks Village Enhancement Committee