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Dressin’ up downtown Grass Valley

Terry Lowe of Rough and Ready walks with her children Timothy Warren, 6, (left) and Rosy Warren, 10, along Mill Street in downtown Grass Valley Monday.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Downtown Grass Valley should have more parking, sidewalks, foliage, streetscapes – and more nightlife.

Those are some of the ideas more than 60 developers, residents, contractors, artists, retirees and others suggested for downtown at a public workshop Monday.

“It’s a healthy downtown,” Joe Heckel, city community development director, said during a break. “We want to have a downtown that allows people to live here and to shop here.”



The downtown area, where an estimated 1,000 people work, represents 14 percent of all taxable sales in the city, a consultant told the crowd at Center for the Arts’ auditorium on West Main Street.

The workshop was co-sponsored by the city and the Grass Valley Downtown Association, a nonprofit organization that represents merchants.




Participants, divided into seven groups, took a walking tour of several areas north of the Golden Center Freeway, including the neighborhood near the Safeway Shopping Center; the site of a future hotel on Bank Street; the Grass Valley Library on Mill Street; the Grass Valley Post Office; Mill Street; and Richardson and North Church streets.

The area near the post office has a lot of potential, said the Rev. Barbara Smith, pastor of the United Methodist Church on South Church Street. There is a lot of open land nearby, she said.

Anything that brings people downtown will benefit her church, she added.

Others, like longtime resident Mary Frances Holdcroft, said they came to the workshop concerned about Grass Valley’s future. There is too much development, Holdcroft said.

Businessman and chef Jerry Cirino, a Grass Valley native who remembers fishing along Wolf Creek, said residents should be comfortable working and shopping in the city.

“I don’t want to live in a tourist town,” he said, “and neither do most people.”

Many participants suggested several spots in town for a possible parking garage. Others proposed ideas to get more walkers. Architect Lauren Anderson sketched a three-level parking garage with pitched roofs for South Church Street.

Speaking on behalf of his study group, Kurt Steger, a Grass Valley artist, said a parking garage should be built at the Safeway Shopping Center. People would then get out of their cars and walk, he said.

Mogavero Notestine Associates of Sacramento, the consultant firm hired to conduct the study of downtown, will lead a second public workshop this fall.

Ideas generated by the workshops will be incorporated into a final report to the city.


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