LODI -- Sometime in 2011, people will be able to learn all about the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through an elaborate visitors center just east of Rio Vista.
A nonprofit organization called Discover the Delta plans a visitors center at the southeast corner of Highways 12 and 160 to promote the delta. The idea is to let tourists know where delta attractions are and what the area has to offer, such as recreation, produce, wine and history.
The center will start with a farmers market in the next couple of months. The full two-building complex should be ready to open by 2011, Ken Scheidegger, president of Discover the Delta Foundation, told the California Highway 12 Association on Thursday in Rio Vista.
The association also plans to install about 20 "Welcome to the Delta" signs at various locations, he said.
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The nonprofit foundation was founded some four years ago when delta businesses were in a slump. Scheidegger said he'd like to see delta businesses promoted a little more.
"Don't look at me as a developer," he said with a chuckle. "I just want to get back to where we were (economi- cally) five years ago."
The complex's cost is an estimated $3.5 million, though the foundation has already received $2 million of what it needs, according to a brochure on the foundation.
Scheidegger addressed the Highway 12 Association -- a coalition of residents and public officials along the highway's corridor from Lodi to Suisun City -- to discuss traffic control and minimize collisions on the notoriously hazardous two-lane highway.
Drivers going west from Lodi will make a left turn across the highway into the farmers market, but once the full visitors center is built a center divider will block direct access for westbound drivers, Scheidegger said.
Roz Malone, secretary-treasurer of the California Highway 12 Association, said it appears traffic will be addressed with turnout lanes when the full visitors center is built, but it could be hectic this year with just the farmers market because of intense truck traffic on Highway 12.
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