As usual, lots going on in our city!
We have more books and other materials for kids at our City Library thanks to a $2,500 donation from the Masonic Lodge and the Order of the Eastern Star. Representatives from those organizations joined me and City Library staff recently for a symbolic ribbon-cutting at the City Library. It’s one more example of the people of our community working together to make Paso Robles a very special place to live. Thank you, everyone!
Traffic in the northeast quadrant of the city was the topic of discussion at a recent study session where the City Council and public reviewed the history of Highway 46-East. CalTrans wants us to minimize the traffic utilizing this stretch of road for in-city trips. We are looking for cost-effective ways to make this happen including parallel routes and creative ways to connect businesses and residences across the highway. More studies are planned.
I recently toured the former California Youth Authority facility on Airport Road with representatives of several agencies. All have an interest in using the property. Proposed uses include homeless services, recreational facilities, educational purposes, farm-worker housing and firefighting training facilities. The facility has been in a state of “warm shutdown” for the last nine years costing California taxpayers an estimated $700,000-$900,000 per year. We were guided by former CYA superintendent Dave Bacigalupo and saw living facilities, visitor center, medical center, food services, workshops, recreational assets and classrooms. If you’ve been curious about what the CYA grounds look like now you can watch a short video of the tour here. In addition to what is shown in the video there are classrooms, workshops and play fields. Those concerned about asbestos will be glad to know that the only asbestos at the facility is in floor tiling, which is easily addressed.
The conversation regarding the use/personal cultivation of marijuana is picking up. The City of Paso Robles has already approved mobile dispensary services for medial marijuana. In November we will find out if the people of the State of California approve the recreational use of this substance. We have already had one study session on how the City should approach the issues regarding marijuana use and cultivation. We are gathering expert information on all sides of the issue. On Sept. 20 the Council will discuss the public process and hold a hearing on the first reading of an ordinance address potential local regulations. Please plan to attend if you are interested in this issue.
We continue efforts to elevate the stature and role of our municipal airport. We have accepted a grant for about $1.7-million to rehabiltiate more than 7,000 feet of taxiways. Our contribution to this project will be about $110,000. This money comes from the money raised by airport operations. We are also moving forward with the formation of an Airport Commission to govern aspects of airport operations. This is a significant step towards preparing the facility for future economic development. If you are interested in applying to serve on that Commission you can get an application form at City Hall (1000 Spring Stree) or online at www.pasoairport.com. Deadline for application is September 30, 2016.
Good news! Government is getting out of the way, at least when it comes to preparing the groundwork for the construction of new homes. A City/citizen committee recently recommended, and the Council approved, a dramatic update of our Grading Ordinance. That means a much simpler, more cost-effective process. Great work, all!
More water! The City of Paso Robles has three sources of water right now. Soon there will be four. The Council has authorized the design of an addition to our new wastewater treatment plant to produce up to 4.9-million gallons per day of non-potable irrigation water. This recycled water will bring even more stability to our City’s water supply.
The squeals of delight you hear coming from the downtown city park come from the new playground. Kids fill it up every day. It was a pleasure to help unveil this new facility. And, yes, my inner child took over when I saw the new slide. Check it out here. Many thanks, also to our local newspaper for its coverage.
It was also my pleasure to welcome participants in the Paso Robles Classic Car Weekend Sept. 2 & 3. It was a great cruise night and a very colorful weekend display in the downtown park. I chose a 1939 Ford coupe owned by Paso Robles resident Tom Leatherwood to receive the Mayor’s Award. It is beautifully restored and looks gorgeous and… BONUS… it’s red!
And, of course, I could not finish this blog with a heartfelt thanks to all the firefighters who worked so hard to stop the Chimney Fire. We honored them with a resolution and will continue express our gratitude for this successful operation, completed with any loss of life. Many thanks, also, to all of our citizens and businesses who stepped up to support our firefighters.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!