Santa Cruz Good Times

Wednesday
Feb 10th
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

 

On the Run

Is there hope for California’s salmon?

 

Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey

Monday, Feb. 8, is Aquarius new moon (19 degrees) and Chinese New Year of the Red Fire Monkey (an imaginative, intelligent and vigilant creature). Monkey is bright, quick, lively, quite naughty, clever, inquiring, sensible, and reliable. Monkey loves to help others. Often they are teachers, writers and linguists. They are very talented, like renaissance people. Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the year of Monkey. Monkey contains metal (relation to gold) and water (wisdom, danger). 2016 will be a year of finances. For a return on one’s money, invest in monkey’s ideas. Metal is related to wind (change). Therefore events in 2016 will change very quickly. We must ponder with care before making financial, business and relationship changes. Fortune’s path may not be smooth in 2016. Finances and business as usual will be challenged. Although we develop practical goals, the outcomes are different than hoped for. We must be cautious with investments and business partnership. It is most important to cultivate a balanced and harmonious daily life, seeking ways to release tension, pressure and stress to improve health and calmness. Monkey is lively, flexible, quick-witted, and versatile. Their gentle, honest, enchanting yet resourceful nature results often in everlasting love. Monkeys are freedom loving. Without freedom, Monkey becomes dull, sad and very unhappy. During the Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476 BC), the Chinese official title of Marquis (noble person) was pronounced ‘Hou,’ the same as the pronunciation of ‘monkey’ in Chinese. Monkey was thereby bestowed with auspicious (favorable, fortunate) meaning. Monkey years are: 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004, 2016.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of February 5

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Wine and Chocolate

West Cliff Wines gets its game on, plus a brand new chocolate cafe on Center Street

 

How would you stop people from littering?

Teach them from the time that they’re small that it’s not an appropriate behavior. Juliet Jones, Santa Cruz, Claims Adjuster

 

Dancing Creek Winery

New Zinfandel Port is a ruby beauty

 

Venus Spirits

Changing law could mean new opportunity for local spirits