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Sports complex organizers seek public feedback in choosing next steps

M. Kate West
Staff Writer
10/18/2013
 

The last shot has been fired and the smoke has cleared from the Play in the Pines shooting exhibition held Saturday, Sept. 28, outside Chester.

The event was brought to the community by Lake Almanor Sports Complex Inc., a nonprofit formed by Jeff Greening and Sherrie Thrall.

When asked what’s next in the works for the complex, Thrall said, “We will continue to evaluate the project as community response and support is still ongoing. We are receiving emails and donations daily.”

Throughout the scoping period, which included the shooting exhibition, both Thrall and Greening had referred to Sept. 28 as the “make or break” day from which they would base their decision to either go forward or halt the project.

“Overall I do feel positive about the project and the educational and economic benefits it will bring to the community,” Thrall said. “The only negative is probably the disappointment that more people did not attend to learn about the economic and recreational benefits to Lake Almanor.

“If there is another negative it would be that so few people seem to know what is going on despite the rounds of fliers put out in the communities, the website and advertising we did,”

Thrall said that where she and Greening go from this point is the “hard part.”

She said the next steps in the project would include the permitting process.

Agencies involved in this process are the Army Corps of Engineers, the California State Department of Water Resources and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Drainage District.

“Last but not least, we will have to apply for a special use permit from Plumas County,” she added.

Thrall estimates the permitting process will be completed over the winter months.

A short-term goal given by Thrall is learning through the permitting process whether or not the concerned agencies will permit such a public usage on their land.

“Each agency will have a list of requirements that could likely put the project out a year. Permitting alone will likely last through the course of the winter and into the spring, as we work to satisfy their requirements,” she said.

Thrall and Greening will also be looking at what events they could put on at the complex as they work their way through the permitting process.

“We might look at hosting a winter exhibition, possibly a skijor event. My guess would be we would spend the next year in permitting, layout and development. My experience is this is how things will go.

“In the meantime, we are going to be doing environmental studies, finalizing layout and working with the community to be sure we provide the recreation they want.

“For example, if we receive the most feedback from disc golf enthusiasts, this would be the sport we would work to develop first.

“Our motto is ‘grow as we go’ and this project will not spring up over night, it will be developed in increments,” she said.

Thrall said they are very interested in learning what sports the community most desires.

“We have a contact link on the website and we very much want members of the community to take a moment and let us know what interests them the most,” she added.

People wanting to share comment should email to sherrie.thrall@lakealmanorsportscomplex.com.

Thrall can also be reached at 258-3656 for those who prefer to telephone in feedback and suggestions.

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