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Locals express doubt about greenbelt plan

Opposition and doubt already surround the proposed Wolf Creek Parkway greenbelt for Grass Valley.

Interviews last week with homeowners and business people along the creek found warmth for the concept, along with fears about trespassing, vandalism, littering, theft and the loss of privacy. Those interviewed also wondered where a pathway could exist along a stream channel already hemmed in by development in numerous spots.

“Where would they walk, is what I want to know,” said Deanna Jordanwood, owner of Flags and More on West Main Street near the Grass Valley Post Office.



Behind her building the creek is steeply bounded by a concrete abutment for the Bennett Street off-ramp of the Golden Center Freeway. On her side, the channel is within feet of the building.

“I don’t think it would be help businesses, but it would be great for the community,” Jordanwood said. “It’s an opportunity.”




‘Not in my back yard’

Up the street at The Old California Restaurant, owner Carbrina Romero said there was little room for a walkway between her back parking lot and the creek.

“But I think it would be a great idea,” Romero said. “People need a place to go.”

Several doors down, closer to the intersection of East Main and Idaho-Maryland Road, homeowner Burton Bruning said, “It doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of room. My concern is if they would eat up any of my land.”

On more reflection, Bruning said, “It sounds like a good idea, but I don’t think it would work with someone in my back yard throwing trash. I don’t like that at all.”

Trash also concerns Karl Resch, who owns The Swiss House restaurant on Mill Street just below the Highway 20 overpass near the south end of the proposed parkway.

“I don’t think it would improve the business,” Resch said. “People riding bikes and walking dogs are strictly doing that” and not looking for a meal.

Between Resch’s restaurant and downtown Grass Valley, three longtime residents voiced varied opposition to the plan.

“We’re adamantly against any public access down the creek even on the other side,” said 25-year homeowner Burt Spangler. “We’ve tried to keep foliage in to cut down noise from the freeway; we could lose that.”

“What would it do to the property values along here?” Spangler asked. “I don’t mind saying ‘not in my back yard.'”

Neither did neighbor Bob Crabb, who pens political cartoons for The Union. Crabb grew up on Mill Street and just recently moved back into the home following his father’s death.

“All in all, I’ll have to admit it’s a good thing,” Crabb said. “But if they want to put it on this side of the creek, they’ll run into a firestorm of opposition, and I’ll have the blowtorch. If that’s the plan, it ain’t

happening.”

‘The freeway’s bad enough’

Neighbor Emma Kistle has lived on that stretch of Mill Street for 43 years.

“I like that creek, I just don’t want it disturbed,” Kistle said. “The freeway’s bad enough.”

Back on the upper part of the proposed project along Idaho-Maryland Road, Alternative Building Center owner Keith Robertson already has a glimpse of what the greenbelt could be. Behind his building is a landscaped grassy strip with a picnic table and grill along the creek that serves his tenants.

“It seems to me there’s nothing on the other side of the creek,” Robertson said. “We’re taking care of our side.”

Robertson is worried that a proposed extension of his building that will come close to the creek will be affected some day down the line by a greenbelt parkway.

Down a few doors from Robertson’s building is Chris Johnson’s Tunez4U.

“It is a beautiful creek,” said Johnson, who often walks up an outside stairway to admire it. “But I’m not so sure how well a trail would go.

I’m worried about people on the trail at night behind my business.”

Johnson also said the amount of work needed to clear the blackberries and blaze a trail through his area would be enormous.

“And I don’t know if the taxpayers would go for it,” Johnson said. “It’s hard to justify with so many other trails around here.”


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