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Editor's view: Construction is talk of the town

By: Don Chaddock, Telegraph Managing Editor
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The Telegraph reported on the town’s big party last week, but there was another important piece to the overall story that deserves attention. The four granite pillars that once graced the center median of Sutter Street have returned once again, this time marking entry points to the Folsom Historic District. The pillars were originally located on the state capital grounds in Sacramento at the end of the 1800s. Later they found their way to the grounds of Folsom Prison. In the early 1960s, after a fire on Sutter Street, former Telegraph owner and publisher Cliff Toney wrote a series of editorials in the paper pushing for a revitalized Sutter Street. City Councilman Jack Kipp and Toney teamed up to create a gaslight mall, complete with a street median and shedroofs on the buildings. The prison warden at the time donated four of the pillars for the revitalization effort. The median proved to be a problem with the 2010-11 revitalization efforts when city crews found the trees planted in the middle of the street were actually seated in only six to 12 inches of dirt — with the original roadway still underneath the median. Under the street was a gas line that needed to be removed as well as old lead and even wooden water pipes — many of them displayed at the Folsom History Museum a few months ago. The pillars were removed Thursday, Feb. 25, 2010, and returned May 4, 2011. It’s nice to see them back in their rightful place on Sutter. What’s up with Palladio? I hear so many rumors about the nearly complete Palladio Lifestyle Center project. Here’s the skinny — the center should have most of its streets open by the end of the year. Whole Foods is still coming in with a projected opening date of Nov. 1. Johnny Rockets and Pink Berry, as well as the movie theater, are already open and Blue Nami, a sushi joint, is due to open in the next month or so. Chicago Fire, a Sutter Street staple, is slated to open by the end of the year. Some big news for Folsom is the planned Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. Price Walker, project manager with Elliott Homes (the group behind Palladio), told me he hopes the bar and grill will be open by the end of the year. “They are taking an entire building,” Walker said. “We’re excited about it. There’s nothing like it up here. … We have a lot of restaurants now with signed leases.” He said other retailers are gearing up to open in Palladio. “H&M (a clothing store) is signed and should be open by the end of first quarter of next year,” Walker said. He said Elliott Homes has often had to go on the defensive when leasing companies they worked with found themselves in financial trouble, such as with General Growth Properties. “(They) never had any ownership in Palladio,” Walker said. “It was a public relations issue. General Growth Properties is now gone. We have a new national leasing partner. We also have a local leasing partner.” So, despite rumors to the contrary, Palladio should be fully open by the end of the year with leasing running into the first half of next year. Since they are still negotiating with many potential tenants, he couldn’t discuss some of the other businesses that may open. Don Chaddock is the managing editor of the Telegraph. He can be reached at donc@goldcountrymedia.com.