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State planning future of Colusa river park
Colusa City Councilman Greg Ponciano views the Sacramento River as an interstate to prosperity.
The state Department of Parks and Recreation held a public meeting on Thursday to gather information for a new General Plan for the 350-acre Colusa- Sacramento River State Recreation Area.
The land is owned by the state, but operations are managed by Colusa, which has placed the river at the center of its plans for revitalizing downtown.
"I was happy when they put the state park in. We used to go out to the river and go salmon fish and water-ski," said Winie Allen, who was part of the Colusa Boat Club, which played a large role in building a boat ramp in the 1950s.
City officials hope the energy the river once created, can be retapped and more people will use the river and in turn spend money in the downtown.
The role of a Parks Department General Plan for the recreation area is to describe a vision for the area and provide goals and guidelines for management and day-to-day decisions.
The two big issues for the city related to the park planning, the proposed boat ramp and pote tial annexation by the city, will not be decided by the Park's Department General Plan process.
The meeting was used to engage the public in bringing up issues, questions and concerns about the area. The public was also asked to bring historic photos of the area to include in future displays at the park.
Residents raised issues such as increased lighting, stairs to the proposed boat ramp, access for kayaks, camping spots on the river, engaging the Latino community in the planning process, concerns about directing traffic flow away from private property and maintaining the bathrooms.
The rough timeline for the SRA General Plan laid out at the meeting includes identifying goals, creating conception development plans and drafting guidelines to bring back to the community in the Fall, with an end goal of project completion within two years.
Ponciano described the role of the river as an interstate for commerce in the mid-1800s. He expressed the plans of the council to return the city's focus to the river.
"The river can be an interstate to prosperity. Just as I-5 offers small towns (with) on-ramps and off-ramps ... economic resurgence," said Ponciano.
The city's focus on the river is a reason why it may be interested in annexing the park into the city. Annexation would not change jurisdiction lines or land ownership, according to City Planner Bryan Stice.
The park in currently in the county's jurisdiction, which provides some confusion about public safety authority.
Currently the agency with authority in the area is the California Highway Patrol and the state Fish and Wildlife. The CHP will call in the Sheriff's Department if needed.
However, it is often the city police that can respond the fastest.
A benefit to annexation by the city is that public safety services would clearly be in the city's jurisdiction.
"We really want to make it clean and have it annexed into the city. They city's services are right there," said Marilyn Linkem with the Parks Department.
Annexation could also provide a tax advantage.
"If the day use area is in the city, then we can recoup any sales tax," said Stice.
Stice said that there are a few different options of boundaries for the annexation. The city could chose to annex just the day-use area, or the wildland area and the day-use area.
He will bring options to the Colusa City Council to vote on, but the ultimate decision on annexation will be made by the Local Agency Formation Commission.