Young actors Joey Carlsen, left, and Chelsea Fitzsimmons rehearse "Seussical the Musical" at the Tower Theater in downtown Roseville in preparation for an Aug. 24 opening.
Young actors Joey Carlsen, left, and Chelsea Fitzsimmons rehearse "Seussical the Musical" at the Tower Theater in downtown Roseville in preparation for an Aug. 24 opening. Dave Henry

Carol Garcia knows Roseville. That’s because her family has lived in the community for five generations.

“Our roots are here, and I have seen a lot of changes over the years,” said Garcia, who has seen some of the changes as a Roseville City Council member, a position she’s held since 2007.

“All the positive changes and controlled growth have been very beneficial to business and residents of Roseville,” she said.

Although that’s attracted businesses and shopping malls, the most recent developments are occurring in Roseville's older areas.

The city is going back to its roots, said Wendy Gerig, chief executive officer of the Roseville Chamber of Commerce.

“There’s a lot of activity in downtown Roseville,” she said. “The city is breaking ground this month for a new town square and preparing the area for future development. Other communities are trying to create downtowns, but we actually have a downtown and an old town.”

The downtown area is along Vernon Street, and the historic old town is bounded by Washington Boulevard and Main, Pacific and Lincoln streets.

Renovation of the downtown square will offer many attractions for families, including theater and movies.

Lori and Bob Grbac, who have lived in Roseville since 2000, enjoy the attractions in Roseville and are looking forward to the new developments.

“Actually, I love Roseville,” Lori Grbac said. “I feel it’s close to all the shops and restaurants. We have the railroad and the downtown setting, which is being revitalized. We have all that plus the Galleria (Westfield Galleria at Roseville), the Fountains, the (Golfland SunSplash) Water Park and the trails.”

The Grbacs enjoy activities such as Downtown Tuesday Nights, a weekly event packed with people, classic cars, food, a farmers market, vendors and entertainment. Other activities on the calendar are the 17th annual Splash, which will feature 30 to 40 restaurants, 30 to 40 wineries, live music and artists on Sept. 8, and the city's 51st annual holiday parade Nov. 17.

Also scheduled is a food-truck event to be held year-round on the second Thursday of every month, beginning Sept. 13.

“The downtown merchants are excited about the things that are happening,” said Megan MacPherson, Roseville's public information director. “It’s hoped that the food-truck event will attract 3,000 people.”

The city is preparing the area for the events and Phase 1 of the downtown revitalization has begun, MacPherson said. Installation of sewer lines and other work underground is under way.

“The below-ground things need to be in place to make the up-ground a success,” she said. “The new town square will have interactive water features, games, concerts and festivals. It’s our community living room, and it’s unique, distinct and complementary to other areas in the city.”

MacPherson said funds for the renovations come from construction and development fees and about a half dozen other funds, not from the city’s general fund.

“We have managed our debt very well, and our revenues are solid with a diversified tax base,” she said. “We are spending in ways that benefit the community.”

That has attracted businesses to the community, as well as development of the major shopping centers and the Roseville Auto Mall, Garcia said.

“Previous councils had a vision for Roseville,” she said.

The councils provided police and fire protection, parks and bike trails, she said, and now are working on streets and lighting for the downtown area.

“It’s nice to see businesses come back to the older area,” Garcia said. “There are vacancies in the city and slowly but surely a lot of them are beginning to fill up.”

Garcia and MacPherson cited the newest, Sammy’s Rockin’ Island Bar and Grill on Vernon Street, which will open Sept. 16. Owner Steve Pease has licensed the name from rock star Sammy Hagar, who may show up unannounced from time to time, Pease said.

Even the Federal Bureau of Investigation is checking out Roseville for a possible new office that could bring 300 to 400 jobs to the city. The proposal is in the federal site selection and development process, MacPherson said.

A university task force is looking into locating a university in Roseville.

“We're hoping to land one or two university campuses in the area,” MacPherson said. “The need is great, and it’s a great tie-in with business and work force needs.”

The task force is considering coordinating classes from multiple schools so that a student can complete four years of study in Roseville, she said.

Funds have been pledged from private and public companies to promote economic development, MacPherson said. The goal is to attract and retain businesses so Roseville can be a community where people can work and live.

Roseville has more than 80 miles of on-street bike lanes and 27 miles of off-street bike paths and has received the Bicycle Friendly Community Award given to municipalities that support bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation.

Lori and Bob Grbac, who both work from their Roseville home, often take breaks with their daughters, Kendyl and Kayla, to ride bicycles along the Miner's Ravine Trail. Their starting point is Sculpture Park near Interstate 80.

In addition to bicycle trails, the city has 66 developed parks, three dog parks, an indoor pool and an aquatic center with an Olympic-size pool. The city offers seniors programs, after-school care, recreation programs, libraries and museums. The Carnegie Museum and the Maidu Indian Museum and Historic Trail are two key attractions.

Roseville Park and Recreation Department offers activities the year-round. The Grbacs' daughters have participated in youth soccer league, softball and park district day camps over the years.

In 2000 when the Grbacs were house-hunting, they were expecting their second daughter and also looking for in-law quarters for Bob’s mother. They found their home with a separate guest house on almost a full acre in Creekside Estates, an older neighborhood that might be the highest point in Roseville, Grbac said.

Today, buyers can find homes in several new communities, as well as attractive prices in the resale market.

The Placer County Association of Realtors reports that 182 homes sold in Roseville in June. Sold prices ranged from $216,250 for a two-bedroom home to $357,628 for a four-plus-bedroom home. The average sales price in June was $296,293.

“We have 40 percent of new residential construction in the Sacramento region,” MacPherson said. “That speaks strongly to the quality of life in Roseville.”

JMC Homes has seen an increase in its building and home sales, Garcia said. One of the builder’s newest Roseville communities, the Village at Crocker Ranch, had its grand opening in May. Other new-home communities are K. Hovnanian Homes’ Settler’s Ridge and Stone Mill; Signature Homes’ Pleasant Oak, with detached homes; Tim Lewis Communities’ Villemont, a gated community of courtyard homes; and Meritage Homes’ Sonata at Fiddyment Farms and Woodlake Village.

KB Home offers new homes at Valley Meadows at Fiddyment Farm, and the Club by Del Webb has homes for adults age 55 and older.

The Fiddyment Farm master-planned community is growing. Roseville City School District in July broke ground there for its 19th elementary school.

Four school districts serve Roseville — Dry Creek Joint Elementary School, Eureka Union, Roseville Joint Union High School and Roseville City School districts.

Roseville, which incorporated 103 years ago, was an area originally occupied by the Maidu Indians for more than 3,000 years. The discovery of gold attracted miners during the Gold Rush in 1849, but some gave up gold-seeking for ranching, settling in the area in the 1850s.

In 1864, the railroad came east from Sacramento, and the spot where it crossed a rail line linking the towns of Lincoln and Folsom became known as Junction. Over the next 40 years, the community developed into Roseville and a trading center for farmers. In 1906, the Southern Pacific Railroad moved its roundhouse facilities from Rocklin to Roseville, where it remains today.

Over the years, Roseville continued to grow, with international corporations bringing technology and people into the area in the 1970s and ’80s. This year, three mainstays celebrate centennial anniversaries: Roseville High School and Roseville Electric, established in 1912, and the Carnegie Museum building, Roseville’s first library, founded in 1912.