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Patti Ingram Spencer

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January 31, 2014
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Dorsey Drive our most important economic development project

Having been born and raised in Nevada City and Grass Valley, and my family having lived here for over a century, I take exception to Terry Lamphier’s personal puff piece regarding economic development in last Saturday’s edition of The Union.

If Mr. Lamphier had been involved with the Dorsey Drive project at any time prior to the groundbreaking, he would certainly be better informed. For starters, the amount of paper, diagrams, reports, studies and program directives generated by this one project could fill an 8-foot by 10-foot room.

Those reports began in the 1960s (and before) when the freeway between Grass Valley and Nevada City was initiated. Those reports speak to many different areas of benefit from the interchange, some of which were not even in existence when such reports were published. But to understand this history and the tremendous demand for traffic congestion relief, you would only need to be engaged and paying attention.

To that extent, I find Mr. Lamphier’s comments regarding our elected officials extremely offensive. He accuses past and present Grass Valley mayors, city councils, boards of supervisors and the Nevada County Transportation Commission of misappropriating taxpayer dollars to fund the Dorsey Drive Interchange. His statements are reprehensible. Where does Mr. Lamphier get his information?

Since 1945, redevelopment agencies have been authorized by the Legislature to foster investment in local infrastructure projects and economic development efforts.

Faced with an enormous budget crisis, the state decided to dissolve more than 400 redevelopment agencies throughout California and seize all available funds. Fortunately, we were able to commit much of Grass Valley’s redevelopment monies to construct the Dorsey Drive Interchange before the state could absorb them.

Who will be served by the Dorsey Drive Interchange? How about the entire community! That means anyone who travels through the Brunswick Road and Idaho Maryland corridor; anyone who travels on East Main Street and the Nevada City/Grass Valley Highway; anyone needing to get to Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, Sierra College or Nevada Union High School; and anyone shopping, wishing to eat or travel from point A to point B. And let’s not forget those individuals needing to get to work in a timely and efficient manner who will no longer need to “cut through” residential areas to do so.

Will future developments benefit from a completed Dorsey Drive Interchange? Of course they will! But any future development will pay (reimburse) its fair and appropriate share of the cost through the development process.

It is unfortunate that my county supervisor is so conflicted in his viewpoint. How can he state that economic development is a top issue and that progress is being made when he misdiagnoses the most important economic development project in our county, the Dorsey Drive Interchange?

Patti Ingram Spencer lives in Grass Valley.


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The Union Updated Feb 2, 2014 12:50PM Published Feb 5, 2014 01:48PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.