Nevada City moves to buy land to bridge Deer Creek |

Nevada City moves to buy land to bridge Deer Creek

During its Wednesday regular meeting, the Nevada City Council unanimously agreed to throw support behind a collaborative effort to acquire a portion of privately owned land and build a trail with a bridge spanning Deer Creek.

The land is currently owned by Gary Gallelli Jr. and borders land already owned by the city and will provide access to Deer Creek on the north side while allowing the city to connect existing trails.

The funding for the purchase and the construction of the bridge will be provided by the California Natural Resources Agency if the Sierra Fund — which is pursuing a $1.3 million grant from the state agency on behalf of the city — is successful in its proposal.

The $1.3 million total is a reduction of the originally proposed grant of $3.2 million approved one year ago, said Izzy Martin, CEO of The Sierra Fund in a presentation to the board.

In an effort to scale back the project and make the grant application more competitive, Martin removed the construction of benches to flank the trail and reduced the amount of acres being purchased from Gallelli.

“This project is almost too good to be true,” said Mayor Duane Strawser.

City Manager David Brennan said the land acquisition and trail construction would have no immediate financial impact on the city but said plans would need to be devised to maintain the trail into the future.

A collaboration of the nonprofits that include the Bear Yuba Land Trust, Sierra Streams Institute and American Rivers, has pledged to help with maintenance operations moving forward, Martin said. The project would help alleviate some of the problems with illegal squatting in the area, Martin said.

“The more people you have legally accessing an area, the less likely you’ll have squatters,” Martin said.

The land does have a historic mining legacy, but Martin, whose organization specializes in assessing the toxic legacy of various forms of mining in the area, said the property would be properly analyzed by qualified members of her staff and if liabilities arise the city could withdraw from the process.

“When I was growing up, the land in this area was inaccessible,” said Councilwoman Jennifer Ray. “It would be nice to see it opened up for people to enjoy.”

Dispatch agreement

The council authorized a contract with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office that totaled about $133,000 for the year for dispatch services connected to the city’s emergency services. The annual dollar amount represents a 4 percent increase over the cost of the previous year. The contract period began in May.

Brennan said the city is exploring the creation of a county-wide dispatch system or collaborating with Grass Valley Police Department for dispatch services to defray costs, but in the short term, the city had no choice but to enter into an agreement with the sheriff’s office.

When asked about the cost factors, Brennan deferred the question to the sheriff’s office.

“We need to do this in the short term,” said Councilwoman Sally Harris. “It’s takes quite a while to develop a dispatch of your own.”


The council agreed to participate with the Sierra Business Council in Phase Three of the Green Communities Program, which analyzes the energy emissions of a given community with the aim of developing an action plan to achieve energy efficiency.

Councilwoman Terri Andersen questioned the dedication of significant staff time to the program when the city has relatively low emissions.

Participation in the program could help obtain funding for energy efficiency programs, Brennan said. The council unanimously approved the item.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email or call (530) 477-4239.

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