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Park district begins planning how to use new land

Delaine Fragnoli
Managing Editor
9/8/2010

Thanks to two recent acquisitions, the Central Plumas Recreation and Park District has more than doubled the size of Pioneer Park in East Quincy, and officials are ready to hear ideas from the public about how to use the land.

The first acquisition is a three-acre parcel that runs north-south from Pioneer RV Park to Highway 70 and east-west from the Caltrans maintenance yard to Pioneer Park.

The second acquisition is one acre and includes the old Forest Service scaling station. This parcel has legal ingress and egress onto Highway 70, which the first parcel lacks.

The district paid $95,000 to Ralph Wittick for the first parcel and received the second as a donation from the National Park Service.

Jim Boland, general manager of the park district, led a tour of the land Saturday, Aug. 28, during the Community Wellness Fair. He said the district wanted an "open planning process."

The district has a year to refine ideas before submitting proposals for Proposition 84 grants. Boland said the grants could be for as much as $500,000.

One idea, said Boland, was to create a gravel access path from the parking area near the RV park to the backside of the barbecue pavilion. This would make it easier for people carrying supplies to the pavilion.

Other ideas that have already been suggested include a fitness track, a dog park and a "modest" indoor recreation facility.

Boland pointed out the park district was seven years into a 10-year agreement with Feather River College for use of some of its athletic fields. "Some fields may not be available in the future," he said, and the new land "has the capacity for soccer fields if necessary."

Boland said his experience taught him "don't overextend yourself. If you build something exotic and think they will come, they won't. You can't exceed your capacity."

The parcels have some physical constraints, too. The adjacent Caltrans yard is all paved, and water drains onto the Wittick parcel. There's also a culvert to be considered. Caltrans wants to keep an existing swale on the property.

Some old pavement still sits on the lot, the parcel slopes uphill toward the highway, and Pacific Gas and Electric has a powerline and easement near the highway.

The pavement at the old scaling station is buckling. But among the assets, there is electric and water at one corner of the lot.

The properties also have good access, with a bus stop on the corner of Highway 70 and Pioneer Road and a bike path to the north and south.

The parcels are zoned commercial, but recreation facilities are allowed with a permit.

Until long-term plans are formalized, the district has proposed an interim management plan. The plan calls for the district to incorporate the parcels in its insurance program.

The district will conduct a more through site safety audit and address any existing of potential hazards.

It will perform periodic site inspections and cleanup as necessary, and will maintain existing vegetation as an aesthetic backdrop to Pioneer Park.

The district will look at how to limit unauthorized vehicle access and parking.

In addition, it will consider potential interim uses that could produce revenue. The land was used in July for overflow camping for the High Sierra Music Festival. The district collected about $2,000 for that use.

"We try to be entrepreneurial," said Boland.

For more information or updates on the planning process contact Boland at 283-3278 or recdept@psln.com.
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