Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for September 30, 2017

A bridge to nowhere?

This week construction began in earnest on the Colony Plaza project and a new footbridge was installed across Atascadero Creek, joining Colony Square (home of Galaxy Theater) with a new plaza and parking area on the north side of the creek and the Sunken Gardens beyond. The bridge has been the subject of a lot of controversy in the community and criticisms that it’s a “bridge to nowhere,” connecting one empty lot to another and within half a block of another bridge in either direction to boot. But I don’t think the critics are seeing the bigger picture — the bridge is just another baby step toward the transformation of the downtown area.

One of the main complaints I’ve heard about the bridge is the project’s steep price tag of nearly $3 million and on its face that idea, a small pedestrian footbridge costing millions, seems ludicrous. But it’s not such a crazy idea when you consider that the project includes more than just the bridge, that’s just the most eye-catching component. There’s also a new plaza with new landscaping that will match the Sunken Gardens style and a new parking lot that will add dozens of badly-needed spaces downtown. The price tag is also not so crazy when you consider the fact that the project is being built in California where permits and environmental reviews and all the other red tape can have a high cost all by themselves. 

So is it worth it? I think it is. The project is being paid for through bond funding and there were a limited number of projects that the funds could be spent on. The Colony Plaza project will add some much-needed charm to that area and will be a good first step to creating the type of attractive downtown creekside ambiance found in downtown SLO, a good first step toward attracting sales-tax toting consumers to our city. In time, once the groundwork is laid, these types of projects will pay for themselves by making our downtown an area where people want to spend time and where they want to spend money.

One of the other main criticisms I’ve heard is the bridge’s proximity to two other nearby bridges, the Lewis Avenue Bridge and the El Camino Real Bridge. Why can’t pedestrians walk an extra half a block to use those bridges? I would never argue that more walking is a bad thing, but there are also those with disabilities living in our community, elderly folks, families with small children who couldn’t walk that extra block even if they wanted to. The bridge will create a nice direct link between the new parking/Sunken Gardens and not only Galaxy Theater and the other shops on that row, but also the new business set to be built at Colony Square just south of the bridge. And the developer of those planned new businesses decided to go forward with the project because of the Colony Square project being approved, so it’s already paying off.

In my eyes this is not a “bridge to nowhere,” but a bridge to the future of downtown Atascadero.

Article source:

Fontana seeking volunteers to help rehabilitate native plant gardens …

FONTANA It’s a chance to help the community and be part of and learn about nature.

On National Public Lands Day, Sept. 30, the city of Fontana is seeking volunteers to help from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Mary Vagle Nature Center, 11501 Cypress Ave.

All participants must pre-register by visiting or call 909-349-6994 by Sept. 29.

Volunteers for the garden project will help rehabilitate California-native plant gardens, receive landscaping tips and learn about water-wise gardening.

During NPLD, the Mary Vagle Nature Center is in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF). The NEEF provides knowledge through programs that participants can apply to improve the quality of their lives along with the health of the planet.

From America’s neighborhood parks to its extraordinary national parks, public lands are the people’s property. With one-third of land in the public hands, National Public Lands Day provides an opportunity for everyone to ensure public lands remain beautiful for all.

For information about the Mary Vagle Nature Center, visit

Article source:

Sacramento’s community clubhouse could use your help

Sacramento’s clubhouse needs some helping hands.

Located in McKinley Park, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center depends on community volunteers. That starts with all the club members who use the center regularly. City owned, the center is operated by its board and funded by the clubs that use it along with the Friends of the Shepard Center.

Once a year, it gets a thorough cleanup and a full morning of TLC. From 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 30, volunteers will tackle a lengthy to-do list.

“We’re in deep need of volunteers,” said Davis’ Jan Goehring, a center director. “The Shepard is running on a very tight budget without the resources to hire a crew to complete the tasks necessary to maintain our building and gardens.”

Built in 1958, the Shepard is not only a popular meeting place, but a midcentury treasure. Designed by Raymond Franceschi, the building is one of Sacramento’s best examples of 1950s architecture with a dramatic roofline, lots of windows and a massive flagstone fireplace.

“If you’re a lover of this midcentury modern building, the Shepard Garden and Arts Center needs you,” Goehring said. “It should be a lot of fun for volunteers, both seasoned and new to the Shepard. If you’ve never volunteered here, this would be a great first date.”

After opening as the Sacramento Garden and Arts Center, it was renamed in 1972 in honor of Ira Gard Shepard, who served many years as the center’s president. A fuchsia specialist, she also wrote a garden column for 40 years.

Nearly 30 garden and arts clubs use the Shepard every month. According to the Shepard’s new website, the clubhouse serves groups dedicated to horticulture, flower arranging, conservation, history, antiques and the arts, including painting, photography, ceramics, metal work, weaving and more. It’s also available for rent for meetings and special occasions.

Under its current arrangement with the city of Sacramento, the center is responsible for its own upkeep. And that can be a lot of work.

On Saturday, volunteer assignments will be tailored to club specialties, Goehring said.

“Groups will be organized into inside or outside groups,” she explained. “You get to decide where you want to be. Our Shepard president (Ken Rothaus) will be fixing furniture, vice president John Foster will be spreading mulch in the Camellia Garden and doing other landscaping. The Bonsai Club will be working in the Japanese Garden.”

Clean-up Day will be followed by the Shepard’s biggest annual event – its Fall Sale. Next weekend (Oct. 7 and 8) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., almost all of the center’s clubs will offer plants, artwork, crafts and more. Admission is free.

Shoppers will find more than great deals. They’ll see a clean and sparkling center we all can enjoy.

Article source: