Effort under way to name art center box office, road after Lindsteadt

In a tribute befitting a man known for his pro-business zeal and
passion for music, the name of economic development director Bill
Lindsteadt, who died last week at age 66, may soon grace a new road
at the Pacheco Pass shopping center and one day stand above the box
office at the Gilroy Center for the Arts.
Gilroy – In a tribute befitting a man known for his pro-business zeal and passion for music, the name of economic development director Bill Lindsteadt, who died last week at age 66, may soon grace a new road at the Pacheco Pass shopping center and one day stand above the box office at the Gilroy Center for the Arts.

Local business and civic leaders have created a memorial fund to raise $50,000 for the future arts center. Fundraisers are doling out naming rights as part of an endowment for the center, scheduled to open by summer 2008.

Lindsteadt, who died Jan. 13 after battling kidney-related ailments for a month, played a major role in commercial development east of US 101. At a time other cities struggled to keep their budgets out of the red, Lindsteadt helped buoy city revenues by shepherding dozens of big box stores and smaller retailers into the city.

Since he took over as head of the Economic Development Corporation in 1996, the city’s sales-tax revenues have more than doubled to $1.1 billion.

The Gilroy Chamber of Commerce named Lindsteadt their Man of the Year for 2004.

The chamber will present Lindsteadt’s wife, Raisa, and son, Jerry, with the award at a Feb. 5 dinner.

The memorial fund was organized by local Realtor Susan Jacobson and City Councilmen Craig Gartman.

“Bill worked with me when I first got on the Planning Commission,” recalled Gartman, who joined the commission in 1997. “He was a wonderful teacher of the economic incentive program. He taught me a lot about economic development which I use today.”

Lindsteadt was also known for his love of music. Shortly after moving to Gilroy and joining First Good Shepherd Church, Lindsteadt formed Garlic City Harmony, a barbershop quartet in which he sang bass.

The group regularly performed at the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the Memorial Day parade.

Gartman said any donations to the memorial fund beyond the $50,000 mark will be used to provide music scholarships to local students.

To raise the funds, he and other local leaders will reach out to friends, colleagues, and businesses that have worked with Lindsteadt over the years.

George Akel, a manager with the development group responsible for the Wal-Mart Supercenter, said his company plans to contribute to the fund.

He also informed City Council on Tuesday night that the company will name a cross-street between the future supercenter and Costco in honor of the former EDC director – “Lindsteadt Lane.”

Akel first met Lindsteadt in 1999, when the city was organizing a special assessment district to finance the widening of Route 152.

“Bill played an integral part in getting everyone together for this process,” Akel said. “Without the formation of that district, none of that development could have taken place. … Bill was such a tremendous asset to the city of Gilroy. He was a ‘yes’ man. He got things done.”

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