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Visions for the Future of Soquel and Live Oak

Every five years, a document describing redevelopment goals, projects, and activities for the next planning period is produced. The process of preparing the next plan for Soquel and Live Oak began with spring workshops where community members shared their visions for the future. Additional workshops were held in early September.

Spring Workshops

An engaging community dialogue occurred at the redevelopment workshops in May and June. Seated at tables, meeting participants discussed what they like about living in Soquel and Live Oak, what could be improved, the top challenges facing the community, and priorities for the future. Tables then reported the results of their discussions to other meeting participants. While this feedback does not represent a statistical survey of all residents in the community, it is useful in gauging the pulse of the community and important issues.

While the community faces challenges, meeting participants described a very positive vision for the future of Soquel and Live Oak, one that is vibrant and sustainable with attractive and vital business areas; a variety of neighborhoods; access to parks and beaches; safe and convenient walking and bicycling routes; and community facilities and activities to support a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Top 3 Challenges

  • Public safety, crime, vandalism & graffiti
  • Creating more activities, programs and facilities for youth, seniors or other groups with special needs
  • Fixing road, sidewalk and bicycle lanes

Top 3 Priorities in the Next 5 Years

  • Roads, Pedestrian and Bike Improvements
  • Community Buildings and Facilities
  • Economic Vitality and Job Creation

Future Improvements

Participants were also asked to share their thoughts about how various community needs and improvements should be addressed. Overall, meeting participants felt that Redevelopment Agency efforts over the last 22 years have made a positive difference in the community. Most people felt that road conditions are okay and that parks are serving community needs. However, many responded that traffic congestion, safe pedestrian access, economic vitality in local business areas, housing opportunities, and community facilities are areas that still need work.

Safe Walking and Bicycling Routes

A majority of workshop participants felt that it can be difficult for pedestrians and bicyclists to get around the community. Most wanted the streets that provide access to schools, parks, and commercial areas to include safe pedestrian and bicycle connections, such as paths, sidewalks and bike lanes. Also there was support for more trails and pedestrian/bike connections through parks and open spaces as a means of getting around the community.

Traffic congestion remained a strong concern. Solutions providing access to alternative transportation such as bikes, bus, and rail, as well as reducing the need for cars, were popular. Comments on improvements emphasized new paving and alternative drainage and landscape treatments.

Community Facilities

Meeting participants clearly expressed interest in new community facilities - with special emphasis on providing positive opportunities for youth and addressing the public safety needs of a community of over 30,000 residents.

Public Safety

The top challenge identified at the meetings was public safety, crime, vandalism and graffiti. Workshop participants’ ideas on how to address this challenge ranged from providing specified areas for graffiti art to bringing more sheriff services into the community.

Economic Vitality

An overwhelming majority of participants agreed that commercial areas need work in Live Oak and Soquel. Community members were supportive of taking a variety of measures to improve small business areas and the economic vitality of the community. These include improving the appearance of commercial areas, increasing opportunities for shopping and services, encouraging job opportunities for residents, as well as exploring opportunities for increasing revenues to support local government services.

Affordable Housing

Increasing and preserving affordable housing is a state-mandated function of the Redevelopment Agency. Attendees voiced support for affordable housing programs, especially programs providing first time home buyer assistance and those aimed at improving the existing housing stock.

Next Steps

The Redevelopment Agency’s Five Year Implementation Plan will be an important document that intends to reflect both the current needs and the future vision for the community. Please visit www.buildastrongersoquelandliveoak.com for the latest information.


Of the 2005-2009 five year plan’s goals, these three ranked highest among participants:

  • Enhance connections between neighborhoods and resources to strengthen overall sense of community.

  • Protect and enhance existing residential neighborhoods.

  • Support revitalization of small business core areas.