Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stewards Log 12 July 2014

A fine time it is for a summer update.  Here’s the unfolding story of the Parkway campaign so far.

Public Awareness:  The WCCA was the featured non-profit of the month at the Center for the Arts.  Our table featured a wonderful short video by Don and Jane Pelton.  We have also produced a new 4”x9” rack card for distribution at other upcoming events going forward.

If you’ve seen that piece you might recognize Tatiana Makovkin’s beautiful creek rendering as the same template used for the Chalk Art Project at the Holiday Inn Express in May.  That event was wildly successful and the good folks at Grass Valley Charter School hope to make it an annual event.

The Chalk Art was done in conjunction with the WCCA ribbon cutting as we joined the Greater Grass Valley Chamber of Commerce.  A key aspect of that move is that Co-CEO Keith Davies spoke in favor of the Parkway while being interviewed for our film, “A Creek Runs Through It.”

In cooperation with Terra Nyssa Films, I am helping to produce a short (8 to 10 min) documentary.  The film will “tell the story” of the Parkway, provide a tour of the creek and proposed routes, hear directly from several key players in a series of interviews, and include information on successful urban creek restoration projects.  We have a good working draft of a script and hope to finish in August.

The finished product will be used in a broad public awareness campaign as I take it on the road to various groups around town over the next year or so.  These groups will hopefully include the Chamber of Commerce, the ERC, the Downtown Business Association, schools, service groups, the County Board of Supervisors, and of course the Grass Valley City Council.  We also hope to enter it into the 2015 Wild and Scenic Film Festival.

Short Term/Connect the Dots:  Recognizing the actual Parkway itself is still a few years away, the WCCA board envisions a practical short term “realistic” plan to get the ball rolling.  We call it the “Connect the Dots” project.  Essentially the idea is to paint a series of blue/green dots along city streets and sidewalks the length of the proposed Parkway, with a few signs here and there to let people know they are walking on the Wolf Creek Parkway.

I pitched the idea to City Manager Bob Richardson, Community Development Director Tom Last, and Public Works Director Tim Kiser.  This by the way is the third meeting with Tom and Tim, and the first with Bob Richardson.

Even though the idea sounds simple enough, nothing ever is.  They liked the idea and are willing to pitch it to the City Council once we all agree on the parameters.  Here’s the catch.  Legally this will be considered a trail and require adherence to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  Thus we will need sidewalks wide enough for wheelchairs (not all are), slopes no higher than the maximum allowed (some are) along with ramps and truncated domes at intersections.  Bob Richardson, being new to the city, is unfamiliar with the whole concept and proposed routes.  I of course volunteered to be his guide.  So one day soon Bob and I, and others who wish, will take a hike.

Long Term:  In previous meetings with Tom Last and Tim Kiser, a basic outline of our way forward is becoming clear.

Formal production of a Preliminary Design by a bonafide planning or architectural entity.
Preliminary Engineering Study.
Public Meetings and Necessary Permits.
Any subsequent revision to the Design or Engineering requirements
NEPA and CEQA reports and acceptance.
Implementation (meaning the actual work!), most likely in phases.

Meantime:  In the meantime they urge us to do whatever is possible on privately held property when and if we get the chance.  Essentially this involves a door to door canvassing of all parcels in each Reach to find out which property owners are supportive, which might be interested in an easement, and which are just plain opposed.  We have only just barely begun this endeavor.  I hope to entice a few high school students to help with this in the fall.

Key Property:  The corner lot at Idaho-Maryland and Sutton (proposed upstream trailhead) is privately held and for sale.  Mary Coleman-Hunt from the Bear Yuba Land Trust is actively negotiating with the owner and realtor to purchase this amazingly important piece.

The Old Warnke Mill site is also for sale, in conjunction with the former Idaho-Maryland Mine property behind it.  I am having ongoing discussions with the realtor concerning this property as well.

There are also several pieces of property along Mill Street that abut the creek that are for sale.  Anyone wanna buy one and make a creekside park out of it?

Our Current Needs or What You Can Help us With:

  • Historic pics of Wolf Creek prior to the freeway and/or the downtown Safeway
  • Acquisition of key lots 
  • Volunteer to work with staff at the Land Trust to create a professional multi-layered map of the Parkway
  • Volunteer to produce the Preliminary Design
  • Or do so at a discount
  • Or volunteer to find funding to do so
  • Volunteer(s) to do some of the door to door canvassing of private parcels

Let Us Know what you may know or want to do!

And coming in October, date and venue to be determined - our annual public meeting which will feature a showing of “A Creek Runs Through It”

Bruce Herring

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