The Los Rios Community College District gained an education site and the city of Rancho Cordova lost an eyesore Tuesday as the dilapidated First Value Inn was dismantled.
Area residents, including some who brought lawn chairs to watch the show, were tickled to see the motel fall, piece by piece, under attack from a large excavator.
The motel site will serve as a parking lot to the planned Rancho Cordova Center, a satellite campus to Folsom Lake College. The first campus building, about 25,000 square feet, will be built close by at the northwest corner of Paseo Drive and Folsom Boulevard.
"They have had so many fires from the transients, it's good to have it brought down," said Dennis Smith, a lifelong resident of Rancho Cordova.
Development of the 5.25-acre site is scheduled to start in January. The project has an estimated price tag of $38 million. About $12 million of that is expected to come from state funds. Initial enrollments are planned for fall 2015.
The tear-down coincided with Rancho Cordova's celebration this week of its 10-year cityhood anniversary.
"This is our birthday gift from the Los Rios Community College District," said Mayor Linda Budge.
"Let's thank them," she added, prompting cheers.
As the sun beat down on the small crowd, city officials initially attacked the structure themselves in a symbolic gesture.
Councilman David Sander, sledgehammer in hand, made the first attempt. Eight whacks later, after making little actual headway, he handed the heavy tool to Councilman Robert J. McGarvey, who added five swings of his own.
After two more city officials took turns, the crowd grew hot and testy.
"Enough of this. Tear the damn thing down," said Jerry Boulton, a retired computer programmer and longtime Rancho Cordova resident.
The demolition also marked another step in the city's long-running effort to rid Folsom Boulevard of blight.
The crumbling motel for years has been a magnet for squatters and site of frequent fires.
City officials wanted to demolish the building for the last several years. But the project was delayed by legal disputes, a complicated Los Rios purchase process, permitting and asbestos removal.