In the early part of January 2019, citizens were angered by the questionable ethics and lack of transparency regarding California Northstate University's plans to build an enormous Level II trauma center with a helipad in the "front yard" of the quiet residential community of Stonelake, which backs up to Stone Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. The proposed project would demolish the current retail center known as Stonelake Landing, displacing and/or destroying several beloved small businesses within that retail center. Both tenants and neighboring residents alike were blindsided by the announcement, which came in the form of a press conference on December 20, 2018, that was hosted by city leaders and CNU. Almost immediately, community members began to question city leaders and the unethical way the proposal was unveiled. It was further discovered that the project was much more expansive in scope than originally reported. United in their outrage over the lack of transparency and the potential back-room deals made between city leaders and CNU, they sought to make their voices heard.
The group of concerned neighbors quickly grew in size and ultimately became what is known as "Neighbors Ensuring Stonelake Transparency" or "N.E.S.T." N.E.S.T. consists Elk Grove residents, from east to west, working to ensure that our city remains a better, healthier and more welcoming place to call home. We seek to promote transparency in all actions and events that affect our community, as well as shine a spotlight on entities and local officials found betraying the community's trust. Though we may come from different parts of Elk Grove, we know that what happens in one subdivision can happen in any other. Therefore, we band together to ensure that residents and small businesses from all corners of Elk Grove have the support they need when they need it the most.