Nevada City Council to review concerns over Boardwalk
After two years of testing Nevada City’s Boardwalk, a deck-like creation of public space extending a sidewalk along Commercial Street, the experiment could be in jeopardy, based on some comments made at Wednesday’s meeting of the Nevada City Council meeting.
In City Manager David Brennan’s report at the end of Wednesday’s meeting, he noted that a planned review of the Boardwalk would need to be postponed until December to allow City Planner Cindy Siegfried time to focus on the city’s housing plan.
“I had a chance to speak with Reinette (Senum) and warn her about what was coming,” said City Councilman Duane Strawser in response to Brennan’s comments.
“So the more time for her to get things ready, the better,” Strawser said.
Senum, a former city council member and proponent of the Boardwalk, helped garner its test-phase implementation more than two years ago. She confirmed via email Wednesday night that the Boardwalk does face some opposition, but noted a firm base of support as well.
“It’s coming up on the one-year review,” Strawser told The Union later Wednesday night. “If we keep it, which I’m hoping most of the council will want to do, it has to go through an Environmental Review.”
The Boardwalk is a wood-planked platform built over three parking spaces on Commercial Street, replete with benches, tables, umbrellas, planter boxes and bicycle parking stations.
Following its volunteer-led installation, the Boardwalk was granted a second one-year extension in November of 2012 and old parking meters were installed along side the Boardwalk to serve as donation receptacles to fund the public space’s maintenance.
However, the city has avoided a rigorous Environmental Review by labeling the project a trial — a designation that had a two-year duration under California law.
“Most people in the city agree it has really not posed any significant problems and, in some ways, it has grown to reduce some blocking of sidewalks,” Brennan told The Union. “Events are being held there that attract people to that part of town and into the businesses there.”
Strawser, who expressed support of the Boardwalk, said his comments about warning Senum were simply referencing the Environmental Review, which could be a costly hurdle for the city to attempt to surmount. And, with city finances still very tight coming out of the recession, a very costly Environmental Review process might be something some council members don’t want to approve, Strawser said.
“The cheapest study could be $5,000, and goes up from there,” Strawser said. “It could be $10,000, $15,000, $120,000 before you know it… Nothing is ever guaranteed.”
However, Strawser said the Boardwalk has no shortage of supporters and noted that creative ways could be formulated to save it if funding a Environmental Review becomes an issue.”
As for city staff, Brennan said that the report for the recommendation on the Boardwalk hasn’t even been written year and noted that no plans are currently in discussion to remove it.
“It will be a decision of the council,” Brennan said.
To contact Staff Writer Christopher Rosacker, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4236.
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