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March 8, 2005 > The New Face of Union City

The New Face of Union City

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

By the year 2020, Union City is expected to be home to over 20,000 senior citizens. In response to this rapidly growing population, the city created the "Senior Village Plan." The planning for this effort has been in the works for almost 10 years and has recently begun to mature into the senior-based community imagined a decade ago.

In 1998, the doors opened to the expansive $3.7 million Ralph and Mary Ruggieri Senior Center, located at 33997 Alvarado-Niles Rd. Funded by a Community Development Block Grant Program, the two-story, 14,000 square foot complex boasts a large assembly hall perfect for performances and meetings, a beautiful interior capable of serving banquets of 200 people. Adjacent to the banquet hall is a patio for outdoor dining and a smaller dining room for the daily lunch program. More than just a dining hall, the center also houses a health screening facility, a multi-purpose room with a pool table and exercise equipment, two classrooms, a conference room and two lounge areas.

Next door to the center are the Rosewood Terrace apartments, a 45-unit assisted living senior complex developed by Eden Housing Inc. With the help of Eden Housing, the city has almost been able to complete its vision of a senior community. Part of the Senior Village located on Alvarado-Niles Road is Wisteria Place, which opened in November 2004. The 40-unit complex is dedicated to providing independent living to low-income seniors.

Maria Alvarado, a resident at Wisteria Place now living on the very road named after her father, said she would be homeless if it were not for her low-cost apartment.

Nearing completion is AlmaVia, an assisted living and dementia care facility located between Rosewood Terrace and Wisteria place. AlmaVia is operated by Elder Care Alliance, a nonprofit, faith-centered organization dedicated to meeting the needs of senior citizens. AlmaVia will offer a choice of shared suites, alcoves and one bedroom apartments. It is expected to open in September of this year.

The city of Union City is also in the process of completing the 11th Street Extension project that will provide access to development on the Pacific Gas & Electric and Pacific State Steel Corporation (PSSC) properties recently acquired by the city. The project involves construction of a new four-lane roadway with bike lanes, parking lanes, sidewalk and landscaped median islands. The project also includes a Decoto Road sidewalk reconstruction along with a new traffic signal at the intersection of Decoto Road and 11th Street.

The street will also connect with Mission Boulevard, providing access to the city's new intermodal station. The 11th Street Extension is part of the city's Intermodal Station District Plan and will provide access to the new KB Homes housing development on the PSSC site.

The intermodal station will be a transportation hub providing a regional interconnection between BART, Capitol Corridor, Dumbarton Commuter Rail and Altamont Commuter Express (ACE). AC Transit, Union City Transit and Dumbarton Express bus services will all connect here, as well.

The 11th Street Extension running through the former Pacific Gas & Electric property will be completed by late spring. While sidewalks, landscaping and other enhancements will be installed over the next few years, the street will be accessible to cars and pedestrians later this year. The next road to be installed will be the extension of 11th Street that extends through the PSSC property. This road will be installed by KB Homes and is expected to be completed by late spring of 2006.

For more information, contact Union City Public Works Department at (510) 675-5308.

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