A History of Downtown Pleasant Hill
By Robert Stewart, Redevelopment Administrator
View the Pleasant Hill Downtown Site Plan.
Challenges Faced in Building the New Downtown
The area that is now the City of Pleasant Hill grew from farmland into a bedroom community during World War II. Residents voted to incorporate in 1961.
Early on, community leaders expressed concerns about the deteriorated condition of many properties developed decades before around the intersection of Contra Costa Boulevard and Monument Boulevard, two main roadways through the community.
At the same time, it was envisioned that this central area could be transformed into a focal point of community identity, providing a gathering place for residents and strengthening the community’s “sense of place.”
In the early 1970s, the City explored various ways to achieve its vision and, in 1974, adopted the Pleasant Hill Commons Redevelopment Plan for the area, as authorized by the state Community Redevelopment Law.
The Redevelopment Plan provided a framework for future decisions about the type and amount of new development to be allowed, put into place the administrative powers needed to implement the plan, and established the financial resource of property tax increment revenue to fund public improvements and subsidize private sector redevelopment efforts.
The goals of the Redevelopment Plan were strongly supported by the citizens of Pleasant Hill. However, it would be nearly twenty-five years before a new downtown, fulfilling these dreams, would be born.