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Collaboration is the common denominator for Lake Almanor groups

Submitted by Katherine Sansone

The Almanor Foundation (TAF) recently organized a meeting with the Lake Almanor Area Chamber (LAAC) and Almanor Recreation Parks District (ARDP) to determine how the three organizations can work together and maximize their common goal of improving the quality of life and economic growth for the community.

“This is why we founded TAF,” says Susan Bryner, foundation executive director. “One of the key founding words for TAF is collaboration. This meeting absolutely defined working together for a common goal. It is through collaboration that we can all move forward in the same direction by having a greater understanding of each group’s role and vision for the community, and pooling resources and ideas for the betterment of Plumas County.”

Representing ARPD was Susan Espana, board chair, who gave a brief history of where the organization started, what they have accomplished and future goals. “Since outdoor recreation defines our organization, it made sense to meet with the LACC and TAF since they have been working together to build the Town Plaza at Chester Park, which neighbors many of our projects,” she explains. Some of the progress ARPD has made includes the new Almanor Park, which is set to open this spring and will feature outdoor game tables – ping pong, foosball, chess and corn hole. There are three new picnic areas, a tot natural climbing space and a community garden. Future plans will focus on a pump track.

ARPD is also moving ahead with the development of the 12-mile Almanor Rail Trail. A 3.8-mile segment of the regional trail system along the West shore will also be built by Caltrans connecting the LART trail to the Trailhead at the Spillway. Once completed, this regional multiuse trail will connect the communities along the West shore through Chester, the Peninsula and all the way to Clear Creek Junction on Hwy 147.

Chelssa Outland, co-director of LAAC and on the plaza development team, explained the plan for the role out of the plaza. “LACC and TAF are working closely with the county to enter a Public/Private partnership to renovate, maintain, and manage the use of Chester Park as the location for the plaza.  Our goal once we have entered the partnership is to do a four-phase roll-out with the last phase to include a pole barn structure on the property to host community events. Bryner added that a partnership such as this would be the first of its kind, demonstrating the power of working together and having an umbrella organization such as TAF to “bring it all together.”

Though the structure and other improvements to Chester Park are in the future, TAF and LAAC have successfully launched the Farmer’s Market in 2020, which will open June 15 and run through Sept. 24; and opened the much anticipated ice-skating rink in December, which will run through March. Both are part of the Town Plaza project.  ARPD is planning a grand opening of its new facilities this spring that will coincide with Earth Day and Little League Opening Day.  ARPD has continued to develop the Lake Almanor Trail to include resting benches, mileage marks and flora and fauna information.

“We need activities for members of our community, both young and old, and to encourage and educate guests that the basin is a place to recreate and enjoy as a year-round destination year.  We can do that by offering more recreational and community activities for our local families and travelers and maximizing the beautiful asset that we call Lake Almanor,” says Bryner.

With all in agreement that the C word – collaboration – will be key to all their projects moving forward, representatives from each group agreed to attend one another meetings in order to continue to work together for greater success and the common goal of making the Lake Almanor basin a thriving community for all.

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