From a TV program, I learned that Redding is the second sunniest city in the USA with 88% of the days having sunshine. I wish that I knew which was the sunniest.
Anna Bengtsson, head of SMART and my tour guide, showed me some very interesting sites. The most outstanding was the Sundial Bridge which was built by the McConnell Foundation, a community foundation set up by a ranching couple. The walking bridge spans the Sacramento River and ties the many activities (museum, arboretum, etc.) of the Turtle Bay Exploration Center together along with tying into the many trails along the river.
The McConnell Foundation was set up by Carl and Leah McConnell who had a great love for their hometown. The Foundation has grown to over $400 million in assets and has another wonderful park (Lema Ranch) that they have open to the public. The McConnell Foundation is an example of what can happen when permanent funds are set up for community betterment.
A place that was hopping with activity was the Big League Dreams Sport Park which featured replica fields of Fenway with a 30’ Green Monster wall; Yankee Stadium with the white arches; and Wrigley Field with its ivy covered brick wall.
When I asked Anna about the impact of the downturn in the economy in CA, she told me, “We’ve got about 1,000 job seekers which is about twice what it was at the peak and have 300 to 500 companies that are constantly looking for workers. We recently had a job fair with 21 companies and had 736 people who went through in a four hour period.”