Santa Cruz Good Times

Sunday
Apr 20th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Strong Community, If Not a Town

SoquelNew Five Year Plan for Live Oak and Soquel seems likely to bring the area up to speed—without all the extra baggage

Who needs a mayor when you have the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency (RDA) and Supervisor John Leopold looking out for you? Better yet, who needs elected officials when local residents show up and behave amicably towards one another while discussing controversial issues, such as the dispersal of millions of tax dollars in their community? Admittedly, being unincorporated is not the same as being ungoverned, but it stands that the response of local residents of the Live Oak and Soquel community at the Public Hearing for RDA’s new Five Year Plan showed that they are ready and willing to take matters into their own hands.

“It was a very respectful gathering,” says Leopold. “All my colleagues were knocked out.”

The public hearing, which took place on Nov. 10 in Live Oak, drew more than 250 people from the surrounding area, more than 75 of whom got up to speak, giving thanks, critiques, and suggestions. The opinions given largely echoed the priorities put forth in the community workshops held throughout the fall (in which more than 500 local residents participated) and outlined in Leopold’s proposal as five blanket issues: public safety, safe routes for walking and biking, positive activities for youth and community facilities, economic vitality, and affordable housing.

“This is the last step of the first phase,” Leopold said at the hearing, “which means we’re going to come back to you to talk about individual projects.”

The plan will disperse $50 million from 2010 to 2014 into the unincorporated region of Live Oak and Soquel, an area that stretches from 7th Avenue to the lower and upper ends of 41st Avenue, covering the coastline and much of the inland area between. Both the proposal and RDA’s website repeatedly state their intention to “alleviate blight” in the area, meaning urban decay and not plant disease, though maintaining the environment, particularly in the many parks in the area, is one of their central concerns.

This is the fourth five-year implementation plan for the Live Oak/Soquel project area sponsored by the RDA. Among their many accomplishments in the most recent stage of the plan (2004-2009) were the acquisition and construction of the Live Oak Library in 2007, a graffiti removal program that removes thousands of tags annually, and construction of the Live Oak Resource Center on 17th Avenue that is expected to be completed by 2010, as well as many road, sidewalk, and drainage improvements.

Some of the leading ideas for the new plan include moving the Sheriff’s Office into Live Oak, the most urban part of the unincorporated area, creating a rail trail and bike route through the Arana Gulch, and moving Central Fire from its location in Soquel where it now sits in a flood plain on a busy intersection.

Leopold stresses that partnership and sustainability are the key ideas to making the plan work both now and for future generations. There is partnership between all levels of community facilities: educational, economic, lawful, and political. “This not only makes sense in an era of limited resources, but it makes sense because it will help us have stronger programs,” he said at the Public Hearing.

The money may be there, but the work for this phase of the project is just beginning; the road ahead may be better financed, but for the time being it’s still full of potholes. However, the Public Hearing on Nov. 10 seems like a good indication that the project is in capable hands.

“Last night was emblematic of how this whole process has gone,” he says. “People were respectful, engaged, and created a dialogue. At an age when people get shouted down at [a] Town Hall, people were willing to throw in their lot ... it’s what you want in terms of civic life.”

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Cardinal Grand Cross in the Sky

Following Holy Week (passion, death and burial of the Pisces World Teacher) and Easter Sunday (Resurrection Festival), from April 19 to the 23, the long-awaited and discussed Cardinal Cross of Change appears in the sky, composed of Cardinal signs Aries, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, with planets (13-14 degrees) Uranus (in Aries), Jupiter (in Cancer), Mars (in Libra) and Pluto (in Capricorn), an actual geometrical square or cross configuration. Cardinal signs mark the seasons of change, initiating new realities.

 

Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of April 17

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >

 

Growing Hope

Campos Seguros combats sexual assault in the Watsonville farmworker community Farm work was a way of life for Rocio Camargo, who grew up in Watsonville as the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her parents met while working the fields 30 years ago, and her father went on to run Fuentes Berry Farms.
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Foodie File: Red Apple Cafe

Breakfast takes center stage at Gracia Krakauer's Red Apple Cafe Before they moved to Aptos, Gracia and her husband Dan Krakauer would visit friends in Santa Cruz County and eat at the Red Apple Café all the time. Then they moved up here from Santa Monica five years ago, and bought the Aptos location (there’s a separate one in Watsonville) from the family who owned it for two decades.

 

How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management

 

Trout Gulch Vineyards

Cinsault 2012—la grande plage diurne The most popular wines on store shelves are those most generally known and available—Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, which are all superb for sure. But when you come across a more unusual varietal, like Trout Gulch Vineyards’ Cinsault ($18), it opens up a whole new world.

 

Waddell Creek, Al Fresco

Route One Summer Farm Dinner You’ve been buying their insanely fresh produce for years now at farmers’ markets. Right? So now why not become more familiar with the gorgeous Waddell Creek farmlands of Route One Farms?