Saturday, 15 June 2024

Oaks residents reconsider community projects

 

Supervisor Denise Rushing hosted the town hall meeting, which was attended by more than 200 people and was standing-room only.


“I am very impressed with the energy and spirit of the community of Clearlake Oaks,” Rushing said later.


Rushing enlisted community help in improving the town, and gave them the opportunity to reconsider which improvement projects were most important to them.


County officials, including Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely and county Chief Administrative Officer Kelly Cox updated residents on projects including The Plaza restoration and the new park near Nylander's.


Cox also reported that the Board of Supervisors approved a grant to install/construct curbs, gutters and sidewalks, decorative street lights on Highway 20 from the Tower Mart to the Fire Station, and from the Windmill building to Foothill. The hope, he said, is eventually to put in sidewalks down to the school.


The county is trying to give business in the area a boost, said Cox, by hiring a consultant to give suggestions on increasing visitor numbers and spending in the Oaks.


Cox said he was disappointed by the consultant's final report, although it did include valuable ideas such as expanding local services and offering more restaurant choices, and promoting or creating annual events.


Community Development Director Rick Coel told the gathering that the Lake County General Plan is nearly completed and will be out for Planning Commission review this spring. In addition, he told them that CDD's next priority is completing a Shoreline Plan for the area including Lucerne, Glenhaven, Clearlake Oaks and down to Lower Lake.


Kim Clymire, director of Public Services, spoke about park projects in the Oaks. He reported that he has $500,000 in grants and funds to purchase a park for the town.


Clymire invited discussion on the topic, which resulted in community members telling him they wanted to pursue purchase of the Schindler Creek property on Highway 20.


Community members said the land could be held for development once more funds are available. Future plans include a joint use agreement with the school for playing fields, with a footbridge connecting the school and Schindler Creek property.


Rushing reported that since the meeting took place, the county has begun a discussion with the owners about purchasing the land.


One of the main issues to come out of the meeting was reevaluating a list of projects the community had ranked as priorities, which initially came out of a May 2006 mail-in survey.


Those projects were initially listed in the following order: Clark's Island park/marina, Highway 20 Park next to Nylander's, Highway 20 calming and beautification, Plaza project; Schindler Creek park.


Rushing gave cost estimates of the projects, which put Clark's Island out of reach, at a cost of $3.5 million over five years.


The list was reorganized to put the community park, The Plaza and Schindler Park as the top priorities. Rushing welcomed feedback on that re-ranking.


What didn't change between the quick survey held at the town hall and the mail-in survey were the top items on the community's to-do list, said Rushing.


“The community is clear about its top priorities – namely cleaning up the town, bringing a face-lift to the Highway 20 businesses, keeping its rural character and small-town charm, and calming the traffic on Highway 20,” she said.


“The top project will be the community park and plaza, and Highway 20 calming and beautification,” she added.


The meeting also resulted in four ad hoc community committees forming to address face lifts and traffic calming on Highway 20, blight and cleanup priorities (including methamphetamine and crime), economy/business services attraction, and parks and public space. Those groups, said Rushing, are now setting up meetings.


More community meetings along the Northshore are planned. They include:


– Feb. 17 at 12:30 p.m.: Lucerne Community Town Hall Meeting hosted by Denise Rushing at the Lucerne Senior Center, 10th and Country Club Drive. Topics of concern to Lucerne include redevelopment, community clubhouse, promenade, community parks, Shoreline Area Plan, public safety and water organizations. For more information contact Donna Christopher, 274-8482, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


– March 25, 12 to 3 p.m.: Waterwise/Solar Energy Seminar sponsored by the Spring Valley Homeowners Association to be held at the Community Center in Spring Valley. Topics to include soil types and amendments; landscape design; native, deer-resistant and drought-tolerant plants; drip irrigation; solar energy for garden and home; star thistle management; and blue oaks management. For more info call Jeannie, 998-9272.


– Future town hall meetings will also be held in Spring Valley, Nice, Upper Lake and Blue Lakes over the next few months, though dates have not yet been confirmed.


To see the surveys result from the Jan. 24 meeting, visit www.drushing.com/CLOQS.pdf; for the comments portion, visit www.drushing.com/forum.pdf.


Editor's note: Thanks to Oaks residents Chuck Lamb and Holly Harris for a synopsis of the town hall event, upon which this report is partially based.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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