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Chester ‘Town Plaza’ idea moving forward

In October 2019 this paper reported that a group of community members met to “brainstorm” the idea of creating a Town Activity Plaza in Chester to help facilitate community cohesiveness and provide a central location for community activities.

During the meeting it was decided that this endeavor would probably need a four-phase approach that could encompass a three- to five-year period of time.

The four phases include visioning, program development (activities), design and implementation.

Susan Bryner, President of the Lake Almanor Area Chamber of Commerce, recently released an end of the year overview about the progress to date.

Her report indicated that the visioning phase currently in progress is where project viability in terms of community interest (volunteers), resources, funds options and committed stakeholders can be identified and verified.

This process is arguably the most important because if the project is not deemed viable there is not reason for the ensuing phases.

The Visioning Partners that have stepped up to date include: Lake Almanor Community Foundation, the LAACC, and the Feather River Tourism Association (an association of lodging providers in the Lake Almanor, Indian Valley and Quincy areas).

There are also numerous advisory volunteers on board. Advisors are those people with specialized skills, knowledge and contacts that have agreed to be called on as the need arises. They include Sherrie Thrall, Plumas County Supervisor; Kevin Trutna, FRC president; Dean Kasenbaum, developer; Greg Olah, contractor; Tracey Smith, Plumas Bank; Rachelle Labosky, Sage Creek Insurance; Dan Blair, PG&E; Susan Espana, Almanor Recreation and Park District; Roxanne Valladao, Plumas Arts; and Moorea Stout with Sierra Institute.

The volunteers for the steering committee that are helping to facilitate the current phase are Susan Bryner, Katherine Sansone, Mary Austin Alan Reeder and Chelssa Outland.

Current research projects include identifying similar projects, and estimating costs for both the project, including location, design, construction and future management, and program implementation.

Also being researched are funding options that include availability of grants, on-line funding, community funding and event participation funding.

Bryner noted that an often asked question has been, “What happens to any raised funds should the project not be completed?”

Her reply was, “All phases of the project will have funding goals. If goals are not met the funds (other than those given in small cash collections) will be returned to the donors.”

Community fundraiser funds are not easily returned, thus, each fund-raising event will identify and promote an alternate community need to which funds can be contributed should the goal not be met.

The Steering Committee is also developing a business plan to help guide each phase of the project.

The committee welcomes input from interested organizations and individuals regarding ideas and/or contributions that will benefit the creation of a Town Activity Plaza in Chester.

Contact the LAACC at 258-2426 or e-mail [email protected].

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