Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Parkway Plan

The input and ideas coming from the public about the work the citizens committee did is exactly why the process is moving to the various local governing boards and councils so that their concerns can be addressed and in some cases added to the plan.

Rancho Cordova’s ideas for instance, appear to be good uses for the Parkway, and those of the off-leash dog owners certainly need a larger hearing.

Parkway plan not cheered by all
By Ed Fletcher - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PST Tuesday, January 30, 2007

From trail signs to tree trimming to water flow, the citizens committee updating the plan governing the American River Parkway came to consensus on more than 200 issues.

But as its work moves to center stage today, the focus will be on areas of contention.

A set of proposals expanding recreational uses within the parkway, offered by Rancho Cordova officials, received a mixed reaction from the committee. The panel incorporated some ideas, scaled back another, and put the kibosh on two more.

The committee looked at whether to allow dogs off-leash and bikes off-road, giving a thumbs up on the off-road bike idea and turning thumbs down on the dogs proposal.

At the Sacramento County administration building today, the Board of Supervisors will review the updated plan in an 11 a.m. hearing.

Frank Cirill, president emeritus of the Save the American River Association, said some of Rancho Cordova's ideas don't fit the parkway.

"Basically, they are trying to inject urban uses into a naturalistic open space parkway," said Cirill, a member of the update committee.

He said it wouldn't be "logical" for the supervisors to buck the recommendations of the 24-member committee, which spent more than two years discussing and debating the issues.

The plan, governing the 23-mile "regional jewel," is undergoing its first update since 1985. The largely undeveloped regional park follows the American River from Discovery Park to the Nimbus Fish Hatchery.

Over the summer, city and parks officials from Rancho Cordova presented a plan to expand the Live Steamers small-scale railroad, create a sensory garden, build a bike and foot bridge connecting Hagan and Ancil Hoffman parks, expand an organic farm and create a river history interpretive center.

The committee rejected railroad expansion and bridge proposals, and wants to limit the size of the proposed interpretive center/organic farm to no larger than 10 acres.

Rancho Cordova officials have argued that, with 25 percent of the parkway touching their city's boundaries, they deserve a bigger say in the parkway's use.