’00s: New century, beginnings

Rancho Murieta added a pedestrian bridge across the Cosumnes in 2007.

July 2000: Country Club members vote overwhelmingly to take the club private and eliminate the link between club membership and lot ownership, a founding sales principle of the development.

August 2000: The Yellow Bridge is a construction zone, as it has been for much of the prime golf season this year – filled with equipment and workers and sometimes closed altogether. The century-old bridge is undergoing cosmetic and structural reworking at a cost of about $450,000. It’s expected to be complete in the next month.

September 2000: The California Wind Orchestra inaugurates Lake Clementia Amphitheater, constructed at modest cost by the RMA with help from the Operating Engineers’ training center. In the coming decades, this amphitheater will prove valuable for Murietans who enjoy summer nights and dance music.

November 2000: County voters overwhelmingly reject Measure O, which would have redrawn the county’s urban services boundary and allowed development of Deer Creek Hills on land north of Rancho Murieta.

November 2000: A standing-room-only crowd hears developers announce plans to construct 1,500 homes in the final build-out of Rancho Murieta over the next seven to 10 years. The developers are acting as agents for the PTF, owners of the land. They say the first construction could begin as soon as next year. Opponents say not so fast.

September 2001: Murieta Village replaces nearly a mile of wood fencing – maintained since the Village’s opening 29 years before – with a low-maintenance, precast cement wall.

December 2001: The entrance to Murieta South gets a traffic light.

August 2002: A new entry system – reading bar codes affixed to resident cars – starts opening the North and South gates.

May 2003: The RMA and PTF sign the Mutual Benefit Agreement. It finally settled the suits and counter-suits that arose from the financial collapse of a developer who bought the undeveloped parts of the community in 1985 and defaulted them back to the PTF 12 years later. The MBA gives RMA title to community parks, provides $1.4 million for the new North Gate, and requires new developments to be part of a central homeowners association with CC&Rs that mirror RMA’s, to pay full RMA dues and contribute to parks funding.

October 2003: The Sacramento Valley Conservancy bought the last half of Deer Creek Hills, adjacent to Rancho Murieta, wrapping up a two-year effort to keep 4,062 acres from development.

October 2004: Security Chief Jim Noller retires after 29 years with the department, 27 as chief.

March 2005: Ray Henderson, the man who transformed a turkey ranch into the community of Rancho Murieta, dies at age 88.
* Ray Henderson, first manager of Rancho Murieta, dies at 88

February 2006: Dale Marr, who helped Operating Engineers Local 3 buy the ranch land that would become Rancho Murieta, dies at age 88.
* Dale Marr, one of Murieta’s founders, dies at 88

June 2007: A pedestrian bridge linking North and South Rancho Murieta opens across the Cosumnes. The bridge project, organized by the RMA and the CSD, as well as Murietan Randy Jenco, whose business is building bridges, is financed with $1.5 million in developer money.
* In the end, maybe it’s remarkable that RM has a bridge at all

December 2007: Seven years after developers first proposed plans to complete the buildout of Murieta, the county Board of Supervisors approved the vestiges of that original plan – three developments that would add 282 homes to RM North. The developments have been hotly opposed almost since they were proposed, and that opposition continues.
* After a seven-year battle, county approves 282 homes for the North

October 2008: Cosumnes River Elementary School marked its 60th anniversary with a celebration for students in the morning and a homecoming for the community in the evening. “Bridging the Past and the Future” was organized by Sloughhouse resident Christopher Utterback as his Eagle Scout project. Students learned about the four one-room schoolhouses that became Cosumnes Elementary in 1948 and the new school being planned for the site. Past principals and teachers visited, and memories were shared by long-ago pupils and people who have lived in the area for decades.

August 2010: After years of waiting, the area finally gets a new Cosumnes River Elementary school. It replaces the 60-year-old original CRES, built when the area was farmland.

September 2010: In an online ad, the Pension Trust Fund of the Operating Engineers offers to sell its remaining undeveloped land in Rancho Murieta. The property for sale is described like this: “Remaining 700 +/- acres of undeveloped Rancho Murieta master plan plus two 18-hole championship golf courses, clubhouse, driving range and tennis complex.” No price is given.
* Undeveloped Murieta land is on the market again – this time publicly

June 2012: The RMA opens the first dog park, at Stonehouse Park.

October 2012: The RMA’s board of directors indicated their intent to purchase 14 acres of land near Stonehouse Park that had been planned for the failed community center. The $200,000 price is “a steal,” one director said.

July 2013: The CSD board of directors plans to take the lead in building a $6 million-plus water treatment plant to handle development.

August 2013: It’s official: Hundreds of acres of undeveloped land in Rancho Murieta, the Country Club’s courses and other property have been purchased by a group of local investors and real estate professionals.  The seller was the PTF, which had the original vision for Rancho Murieta more than 40 years ago.  The selling price was not disclosed.
* Group buys PTF’s Rancho Murieta land

May 2014: The Summerfest Spray Park is opened at Riverview Park, honoring Summerfest for its $68,000 donation. The parks funds were used for $167,000 of the additional cost.

October 2014: The Country Club, taking a cue from Sacramento dining events on the Tower Bridge, holds a dinner on the Yellow Bridge. The menu included quail from Dixon, sturgeon from Passmore Ranch in Sloughhouse, and game hen and lamb from elsewhere in California.  Dinner started at sundown, followed by dancing, which had the century-old bridge rocking –  literally.  The first Yellow Bridge dinner marked the opening of the South Course in September 1979.

May 2015: A new North Gate, which took seven months to build, is dedicated.

June 2016: The CSD’s water treatment plant opens. Total cost: $13.2 million.

July 2016: The operator of Plaza Foods is evicted, forcing the community to spend six months without a supermarket. In January 2017, Raley’s opened a Murieta Market in the Plaza Foods location.

July 2017: A $3 million-plus pension liability with the Operating Engineers union blows up a planned purchase of the Country Club after 18 months of talks.

February 2018: The Murieta Inn and Spa – more than three years in the building – opens.

April 2019: Homes are now being offered in the Murieta Gardens development by K. Hovnanian Homes.

August 2019: The Riverview dog park, in the South, opens.

May 2020: Raley’s opens a new Bel Air supermarket at the Murieta Marketplace at Jackson Road and Murieta Drive. The 35,000-square-foot store replaces an interim store Raley’s has been operating since 2017 in the Murieta Plaza Shopping Center.