Olivehurst grant opens door to community work
WHAT: Meeting to take ideas for the Olivehurst Sustainable Community & Economic Revitalization Plan
WHEN: 5:30 p.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Olivehurst Youth Center, 1966 Ninth Ave., Olivehurst
A future Olivehurst with more businesses, improved traffic flow and better infrastructure gets under way next Tuesday, Yuba County officials hope.
With a $191,000 planning grant from Caltrans in hand, the county will host a community planning workshop in Olivehurst on Tuesday night to get a wishlist of what residents want.
County planners said the meeting will start an 18-month process to create a revitalization plan for the unincorporated community, and give Yuba County a leg up on future grants to put it into action.
"There's been no work done for the total community in the past," said Ed Palmeri, a project manager with the county's planning department. Past campaigns have focused just on economic development, or redevelopment.
Under this grant, a total transformation of the heart of historic Olivehurst is what's envisioned, from attracting new businesses to putting in sidewalks and bike lanes to building on empty lots and improving existing structures.
At Tuesday's meeting, a brief overview presentation will lead into Olivehurst residents visiting a series of tables focused on different topics to give their specific ideas.
In addition, the county's formed an advisory committee for the plan, representing differing communities within Olivehurst, and begun work with consultants to draw up a plan.
Vera Correa, a longtime Olivehurst resident who's on the committee, said part of her task is to get others involved.
"It's not that people don't care, it's that they think their voices aren't heard," she said of similar efforts where few people sometimes show up. "What they need to understand is these things take time."
She said she'd guess most residents will push for safety, along with reducing blight and cleaning up abandoned buildings.
Palmeri said Tuesday's meeting won't be the end of resident involvement. A planning charette is tentatively scheduled for fall, and a preliminary plan will be available for comments next summer.
The plan would then go before the county's Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors for approval in fall 2012, ahead of a deadline by Caltrans to use the grant by February 2013, Palmeri said. Those represent more chances for residents to comment.
"We don't want to be doing this in a far-off shop," he said.
However, the follow-up is less certain. Palmeri said based on the county's experience with a similar plan for North Beale Road, the Olivehurst plan will be used to leverage more grants to put it into action.
With the North Beale plan, he said, its existence led to the county receiving $1.5 million for engineering improvements.
Olivehurst-area Supervisor Mary Jane Griego said she believes the plan will eve tually become reality.
At her restaurant, Duke's Diner, pictures show a roundabout on Olivehurst Avenue. Griego said customers often ask, "When's that ever going to happen?"
But after years in the works, the county has received grant money to build it, she said.
"We've all had to be patient, but we're moving forward," she said. "There are businesses out there noticing we're underserved."
CONTACT reporter Ben van der Meer at 749-4786.