League of California Cities visitors give Grass Valley high marks | TheUnion.com

League of California Cities visitors give Grass Valley high marks

California Governor Gavin Newsom, second from left, came to Grass Valley on Friday for a League of California Cities meeting. The event drew around 80 league members -- a number of whom brought family with them -- to the area Thursday and Friday.
Photo by John Hart

The reviews of Grass Valley seemed to have a common theme.

“It was my first time here, but it won’t be my last,” said Richard Montgomery of Manhattan Beach.

Montgomery was one of about 80 members of the League of California Cities who mixed business with pleasure while attending a league meeting in Grass Valley Thursday and Friday.

“We walked around downtown, went to the Del Oro and watched ‘Glass,’ and ate at Pete’s Pizza, Thirsty Barrel, and Sourdough and Co.,” continued Montgomery.

The league is comprised of mayors, council members and department representatives from 482 California cities. The league’s board of directors meets four times each year, usually in Sacramento. This week’s meeting was held in Grass Valley because the current league president, Jan Arbuckle, is a Grass Valley city council member and former mayor.

Even Governor Gavin Newsom, who addressed league members at a brief, closed-door session, had nothing but praise for Grass Valley.

“After I thanked the governor for accepting my invitation to come to Grass Valley, he told us all how much he loves it here,” Arbuckle said. “He shared fond memories of childhood visits to Grass Valley when his father lived in Dutch Flat. The governor also said his own children love visiting Grass Valley.”

Heading into the meeting, city officials predicted it could be an economic boon to the local economy as league members switched gears to become tourists during non-working hours. The Gold Miners Inn, where the delegates stayed, and Kane’s Restaurant, where the league hosted a dinner banquet, certainly benefited financially. Due to the sheer number of delegates, it’s likely other businesses saw an increase in revenues.

“I specifically brought my wife on this trip even though she has nothing to do with the league,” said Chico Mayor Randall May, “so she could shop downtown.”

Randall’s wife, Krista, said she doesn’t want to divulge how much money she spent in Grass Valley because she doesn’t want her husband to know.

“I shopped, got my nails done, and bought gifts for everyone who watched our kids while we were gone,” she said. “Let’s just say I spent a few hundred dollars and had a good time.”

“Everyone here is so friendly,” said Cindy Silva of Walnut Creek. “Last night, when we went out to dinner, the proprietors made us feel like we were in their living room having a family dinner with them. You don’t experience that in many towns.”

Local merchants enjoyed putting their best foot forward for the visitors.

“When I was serving appetizers, I kept hearing everyone saying what a great town this is,” said Kane’s owner Maria Byers-Ramos. “It was nice Kane’s could play a part in making our town shine. When those people go home and tell others about Grass Valley, it will attract even more people and more business for everyone.”

“This was my first time here but I definitely want to come back,” said Mireya Turner of Lakeport. “It’s such a cool town and so charming. There was snow when we got here and gone by the time we left. I got brochures about the city being part of a Cultural District, and I want to check that out when I return.”

Dr. Allan Bernstein from Tustin said he wished his time in Grass Valley had been longer.

“The town is beautiful, and I intend to come back,” said Bernstein. “I thoroughly enjoyed my short time here. The restaurant was terrific, with a great atmosphere, fresh food, and friendly staff. This hotel is, too. My room was clean and beautiful, and breakfast was great.”

“I walked all around town and loved it,” said Jesse Loren of Winters. “I had to get my 8,000 steps in after being in meetings all day, and I did. I stopped and asked questions, which people were more than happy to answer. Everyone is so friendly and the stores have everything. I’ll definitely do more shopping here when I come back.”

Some league members did not get “out and about” as much as others.

“I didn’t get to see much except Kane’s Restaurant, which was awesome,” said Pippin Dew-Costa of Vallejo. “It had great food, service, and ambiance. The hotel was also nice and accommodating. I slept well and used the fitness center, so that was great.”

Rushing out of the hotel’s ballroom and pulling suitcases behind him, a man reached out to Grass Valley Mayor Lisa Swarthout and gave her a hug.

“You did a wonderful job hosting us. See you again soon.”

Lorraine Jewett is a freelance writer who lives in Nevada County. She can be reached at LorraineJewettWrites@gmail.com.

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