Property purchase first step in improving pedestrian access to downtown Grass Valley (MAP) | TheUnion.com

Property purchase first step in improving pedestrian access to downtown Grass Valley (MAP)

Location of the property to be purchased.

The City of Grass Valley is set to purchase a property at 341 E. Main St. to improve transportation for pedestrians and bicyclists along a corridor to its historic downtown district.

After negotiations with the property owner, the city has agreed to purchase the parcel — the former site of the Old California Restaurant, which was demolished after an electrical fire in August 2010 caused extensive damage to the building — for $83,000. Staff estimates cleanup on the property, including the removal of concrete and the installation of fencing, will cost about $9,000.

City Manager Tim Kiser said the city is still working out its plans for the site, but acted quickly on what he called "an opportunity to get a property at a very reasonable price."

“(The purchase is) an initial step in a long-term vision of being able to fix and clean up that stretch along East Main.”

— Council member Jason Fouyer

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The city hopes to eventually improve access to downtown for pedestrians and bicyclists along East Main Street by enhancing the sidewalk along the roadway or creating a trail adjacent to Wolf Creek, which sits behind the former Old California Restaurant site. Kiser said purchasing the property is the city's first step in building that walkway.

The city, he said, is interested in purchasing more parcels and negotiating with property owners to move forward with right of way acquisition along that stretch of the road.

The Old California Restaurant site could serve as a parking lot for neighbors, which may give the city a leg up in negotiating over acquisitions, Kiser said.

Council member Jason Fouyer called the purchase "an initial step in a long-term vision of being able to fix and clean up that stretch along East Main."

The challenges Fouyer sees along that roadway include a shortage of parking for homeowners and a difficulty widening the sidewalk or improving the road due to a lack of available land.

"It's going to take several acquisitions of properties along there to ever be able to do something," he said.

He said the city would always be interested in acquiring parcels along that stretch of the roadway at times when purchases fit into the city's budget.

To contact Staff Writer Matthew Pera, email mpera@theunion.com or call 530-477-4231.