’90s: The Cosumnes rages

Man hosing a construction site.
In late 1997, work was under way to turn the four ponds of the wastewater facility into Stonehouse Park. (Mike Martel photo)

March 1990: Winncrest Homes says it expects sales to begin July 1 for the new Murieta South homes. In Unit 1, 350 homes are expected to ready for occupancy in October. A builder representative says the entrance, with “tiered ponds and gate house,” will cause people to feel “they are entering a special community.”

April 1990: Installation work is under way for a traffic light at Jackson Road and Murieta Parkway. It’s expected the light will be operational next month.

October 1990: On a beautiful autumn afternoon, George Archer shoots a final-round 66 to win the $400,000 Senior Gold Rush. Archer’s 12-under 204 is a tournament record.

February 1991: The Surge, Sacramento’s entry in the new World League of American Football, begins public practice sessions in Rancho Murieta, on the sod farm of team owner Fred Anderson.

October 1991: George Archer wins his second straight Senior Gold Rush with a 10-under 206.

October 1992: Bob Charles shoots a tournament record 201, winning the Senior Gold Rush by six strokes.

September 1993: The Cosumnes Community Planning Advisory Council is told of “embryonic” plans for a development called Deer Creek Hills, just beyond the north property line of Rancho Murieta.

October 1993: George Archer birdies the 18th hole to break a three way tie and win his third Senior Gold Rush title.

July 1994: The dedication of Rancho Murieta Community Church is being held. It is located at 7220 Murieta Parkway, next to the fire station.

July 1994: Rancho Murieta Country Club wins a $3.2 million judgment against Jack Anderson and Rancho Murieta Properties Inc. Anderson sued the club for $2 million in 1989, claiming the club hadn’t repaid RMPI for expenses and improvements it made to the courses. The club countersued that same year, claiming RMPI had ignored its financial responsibilities to the club and didn’t set up reserve funds to handle maintenance and repairs.

October 1994: Bob Murphy plays the 18th hole six straight times — five in a sudden-death playoff — and outlasts Dave Eichelberger to win the Senior Gold Rush.

November 1994: The Community Services District moves into its new offices. They’re in a new 5,000-square-foot building constructed on Jackson Road, across from the entrance to Rancho Murieta South. The project, built in four months, was on time and under its budget of $550,000.

February 1995: An informal poll conducted by the Rancho Murieta Association determined that the least-watched cable-TV service is MTV.

February 1995: Construction begins on a second outdoor arena at Murieta Equine Complex. The arena is planned to be 60,000 square feet.

February 1995: A flagpole is installed outside the Rancho Murieta Association Building, on Murieta Parkway.

May 1995: Caltrans representatives hold a public meeting to outline plans for widening Highway 16 from Sunrise Boulevard to Murieta Parkway. Between 1986 and 1991, there were 248 accidents and 16 deaths along the eight-mile stretch. What’s now a 22-foot paved area will be widened to two 12-foot lanes, each with an 8-foot shoulder. Construction should start in the fall.

July 1995: Caltrans announces plans to install a traffic signal at Dillard Road and Highway 16, replacing stop signs. The pending widening of Highway 16 includes plans for a traffic light at Grant Line Road.

October 1995: Don Bies outduels Lee Trevino down the stretch, posting an 11-under 205 total to win the Senior Gold Rush. During the tournament, some players speak openly of what will be announced two weeks later – the tournament is ending its nine-year run in Rancho Murieta and will move next year to Serrano Country Club in El Dorado Hills. One event official cites finances as the reason for the move. Playing the tournament at Serrano reduces its expenses by $100,000, he says.
* Goodbye to the Senior Gold Rush, goodbye to its organizer (published in 2002)

June 1996: Deer Creek Hills, a new development on the border of Rancho Murieta, is outlined at a Rancho Murieta Association board meeting. The gated seniors community, developed by C.C. Myers, would include 3,000 homes on almost 2,000 acres. A representative of Myers company says it construction could begin in late 1997 or 1998. (In 2000, Sacramento County voted against it.)

July 1996: The community votes to approve revisions to the Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions (CC&Rs) governing life here.

January 1997: Heavy rains in the Valley and melting snow in the Sierra turn Sacramento area rivers into floodwaters. The Cosumnes runs over its banks and through levees in southern Sacramento County, flooding dozens of homes. No homes in Rancho Murieta are flooded, but waters inundate low-lying portions of the South Course. Stretches of Jackson Road west of Rancho Murieta are closed.

March 1997: Fred Anderson dies at 73. The businessman is remembered for helping his community – bringing the Senior Gold Rush, presenting air shows, establishing the Murieta Equine Complex and being host to two professional football teams and other selfless acts.

September 1997: The Pension Trust Fund of the Operating Engineers repossesses 1,100 acres of the Rancho Murieta land it sold to Jack Anderson for $42 million in 1985, including the Country Club’s two golf courses. The trust buys the land in an auction on the courthouse steps in Sacramento. The only bidder, it pays $20 million. Anderson bought 1,400 acres from the PTF in 1985 and sold several hundred acres before defaulting on the loan.

October 1997: Road crews are nearly finished widening and improving Jackson Road between Rancho Murieta and Sunrise Boulevard.

February 1998: The RMA reports it is proceeding with Lake Clementia’s park and Stonehouse Park. At Stonehouse, the basketball courts are in (no standards until later in the year), and grass for baseball and soccer will be planted this year. A permanent restroom facility is also in the plans.

July 1998: The RMA is accepting donations for the baseball fields at Stonehouse Park. The highest rollers will contribute $10,000 and more.

October 1998: Ten community security officers sign a letter of protest to the Community Services District. The letter objects to a budget-driven CSD move that cut their pay by 20 percent and reorganized the department.

November 1998: The county supervisors fail to approve the 1,900-acre Deer Creek Hills development, proposed for land north of Rancho Murieta, because the site is outside the county’s urban services boundary. There is no formal vote on the action because there is not enough board support for endorsement. People on both sides of the issue predict it is not dead yet.

February 1999: The RMA has reached a contract with the Cosumnes River Little League for the use of its new baseball fields at Stonehouse Park.

March 1999: The Church of St. Vincent De Paul, on Cantova Way, was consecrated by the Most Reverend William K. Weigand, bishop of Sacramento. The late businessman Fred Anderson donated the land for the church in 1996.

This sign was one of a pair that greeted Jackson Road travelers for decades. Here it is in 2012.

July 1999: The Rancho Murieta sign that stood on the North Gate side of Jackson Road from the first days of the development, almost 30 years, is dismantled by RMA workers. RMA thought it was too far gone to continue repainting it. (Its twin, across Jackson Road, continued to stand, in pretty bad shape, until 2014.)