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May 29th
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Supervisor Neal Coonerty

neal-coonertyWhat difference will the new water treatment facility in Davenport, which is officially underway, make for the community?

First, the good news. The new water treatment plant improvements will provide a number of important benefits to the Davenport community:

1. The facility will meet the latest state water quality standards, thus assuring a high level of safe water to drink.

2. An enlarged water tank will be constructed, enhancing the level of fire protection in the community.

3. Due to the increased federal funding for the project's construction, the impact on the community's water rates for the $1.5 million plus project will be significantly less than expected.

4. Some of the new equipment that will be installed as part of the project should reduce the system's operating costs.

5. Once the construction is completed, staff will be able to turn their attention to other community needs, such as improving the pipes that distribute the water.

6. Perhaps most noticeable, the community should no longer be subjected to boil water notices during the rainy season.

Unfortunately, there is some bad news, too. Because of the delays in receiving the new equipment for the facility, the new water treatment plant will not go into operation until next spring.

This project has been a long time coming and the residents of Davenport have been very patient awaiting it. Developing a treatment plant design acceptable to the state regulators and securing the necessary funding has taken many years and a great deal of work by county staff. Work started before I took office and I'm very pleased to see it finally under construction.

What projects are on the horizon for Santa Cruz County's Third District?

One project that I'm excited about is the Twin Lakes Beachfront Project, which includes pedestrian, bicycle, vehicular and landscape improvements along the section of East Cliff Drive between 5th and 9th avenues. Some bluff protection, retaining walls and drainage improvements are also part of the proposed conceptual design. The project will provide these significant improvements while maintaining the natural character of Twin Lakes beach area. The conceptual design for this sensitive and scenic location was shaped by the input the residents gave during community meetings in 2007 and 2008.

Currently, access to this popular local beach can be difficult. There is no pedestrian path, no bike parking and no organized vehicle parking.

The project will include a public art component, and possibly a historic element that would highlight the old trolley line that once served the area. The project is being funded by the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency and construction is expected to begin in fall 2011. There's more information available on the website: sccounty01.co.Santa-Cruz.ca.us.

A community meeting will be held next spring. The public will have a chance to review and give input on the final design of the project.

I join the community in looking forward to the improvements the Twin Lakes Beachfront Project will bring.

Do you have any thoughts on the passing of Mardi Wormhoudt?

The sad passing of Mardi Wormhoudt has brought to mind the many contributions she made to our community. We remember her leadership in rebuilding downtown Santa Cruz after the '89 quake, protecting the county's north coast as well as her diligent reform of our juvenile justice system to the benefit of our community's young people. Our community is a better place because of Mardi's work, skills, persistence and beliefs.

But reflecting on Mardi's life work should also remind us of the value of public service. Public service, at its core, is a commitment to creating community in a healthy and vital way. Mardi epitomized that commitment, not only in her work on big projects but in the way she encouraged and inspired individuals to devote their time and skills to improving Santa Cruz. She always sought out people with good ideas, worked with people to solve problems, and showed people how to make government work for them. This is what public service is all about. It is with a great sadness and gratitude that our community says goodbye to Mardi. Her life was lived as in the well-known proverb, "Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

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