That was before incorporation and the housing boom that has transformed Contra Costa's youngest city.
After incorporation, the city made reshaping the downtown area a major priority. Monday night, plans to do just that moved another step forward when the council agreed to hire a consultant to produce by mid January a downtown design and development plan.
LSA Associates of Berkeley was awarded the $127,315 contract to produce the plan. The firm has done extensive work in the East Bay region, including some previous input to Oakley's general plan.
Emphasizing the importance of the contract, Redevelopment Director Barbara Mason said in a staff report that 'a downtown theme is needed to help develop a sense place for the city.
'The downtown is in need of rehabilitation before it can be the true heart of the community and this effort is already underway,' Mason's report added.
'Oakley's citizens have yearned for a downtown that serves their needs and provides a focus for community events and activities and symbolizes community aspirations. Achieving the community vision for the downtown requires that the city pursue several efforts simultaneously,' the report continued.
Through onsite visits, meetings with city staff and public hearings, LSA will study and make recommendations on such issues as aesthetics, agricultural and cultural resources, geology and soils, hazardous materials, water quality, land use planning and transportation.
After its recommendations are presented to the city, the firm will hold hearings with the city to allow community comment and recommendations.
Council member Pat Anderson said that previous downtown studies have included many portions, if not almost all, of Highway 4. She wondered if LSA could use those studies and thereby reduce some of the project cost.
'If there's a way to have the costs lowered, I'd like to see it,' Anderson said.
City Manager Bryan Montgomery said that the firm would examine those reports and if they were still timely it would rely on them and reduce some costs to the city.