CITRUS HEIGHTS, Calif. — Back in July 2018, a gun battle between police and a suspected gunman took over the area of the Sunrise Mall in Citrus Heights. The man, 26-year-old Grayson Schuessler, allegedly fired shots through the Macy’s windows at the mall before being gunned down by police officers in a shootout.
The shooting put a spotlight on the area — specifically the mall, which residents complained needed to be renovated and transformed to help reduce crime.
Well, city leaders heard the complaints. The city launched an interactive website Wednesday, which is part of the larger “Sunrise Tomorrow” project to revamp the mall. The website is complete with an “idea wall” where residents can help create a vision board for what the Sunrise Mall should look like.
"It offers a lot of opportunity to introduce new uses that we may not have here in the city,” said Citrus Heights Planning Manager Casey Kempenaar.
Sunrise Mall customer Trevor Wanner said he wants more from the city than just a revamped mall. Wanner said he would like to see the mall implement job training and placement programs for teens.
"Obviously they want to make their money, but it isn't always about the money,” Wanner said.
Sunrise Mall, which opened in 1971, is still the biggest economic life engine for Citrus Heights, generating the biggest share of sales taxes for the city, officials said. But it is a far cry from its heyday.
City officials said the mall’s economic impact declined by 50% in the past 13 years.
Kempenaar is hoping to change that with “Sunrise Tomorrow,” a project approved last July by the city council to redevelop the 100-acre property — 75% of which is a parking lot.
"It's looking past today and seeing what the future of Sunrise Mall can be tomorrow,” Kempenaar said.
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