For many years the city of Napa was just a place you passed as you entered the Napa Valley – the city center is not on the main highway (Highway 29) and it was lacking in restaurants, hotels and tasting rooms. When you told people you were visiting the Napa Valley, the city of Napa was not mentioned as your final destination, rather you would have been referring to the wineries up valley; it was those wineries that long attracted the majority of the visitors to the valley. They still do, however there is now an additional reason to visit the Napa Valley and that is the city itself.
Since 1862 Napa’s downtown has flooded 22 times and local businesses were rightfully tired of having to deal with the repercussions of the flood waters during years of heavy rainfall. The latest was in 2005 when much of downtown Napa was under water. Napa decided to finally do something about this – and in 1998 residents narrowly voted to improve and focus their attention, and feature the Napa River more prominently in their downtown.
A levy created a 900 acre wetland/overflow region south of the city, twelve new bridges were constructed, undesirable buildings were razed along the river front and parts of a “new” downtown began to emerge. Work was completed on the actual Napa River and the Napa Creek to help prevent and control devastating flood waters.
Today Napa has attracted both fine restaurants and top hotels. While the “river and re-development” plans continue to progress (slated to complete in mid 2012) – in a relatively short amount of time, downtown Napa has been reborn as a culinary and wine tasting mecca. Since 1996 nearly 1 billion dollars has been invested in downtown Napa from both private and public sectors. Read Full Article Here