By SCOTT PESZNECKER
How about a skateboard park in the Ebbetts Pass corridor, or more affordable housing in Copperopolis?
Those suggestions and others from surveys of more than 1,000 county residents are part of an in-the-works, 10-year master plan to make the county a better place for children to live.
The plan is being formed by First 5 Calaveras, a Calaveras County special district with the goal of helping children 5 and younger.
However, First 5 Administrative Assistant Larissa Collins said the plan an estimated few months from completion is designed to improve the quality of life for youth up to 18 years old.
Its other purpose is to give local agencies the basis for community improvement grant requests.
"In this process, the goal was not only to find out what the county needs for children, but also to access more funding in the near future so we can actually make some of these things happen," Collins said. "It's not just a piece of paper we're trying to produce."
Collins said grant applications are more successful when proposed projects are backed by plans such as this.
"Grant agencies want to fund (projects), but they want to ensure that that's what's wanted in the community," Collins said.
Parts of the plan call for different facilities or programs in different communities, as well as multi-use community centers near Valley Springs, Arnold, Angels Camp, Murphys and Copperopolis. The centers would be able to accommodate anything from public meetings to sporting events.
In the Ebbetts Pass area, preliminary ideas include a dual-use skateboard and BMX biking park.
Opening schools at night for community use in San Andreas and Mokelumne Hill is another priority, as is introducing more children to adult mentors in West Point, Mountain Ranch, Rail Road Flat, Wilseyville and Sheep Ranch.
The plan talks about creating classes in Murphys to teach parents and teachers about the needs of children this could help children who are not involved in sports, the plan says. Also in Murphys, the plan talks about finding someone new to oversee the future development of Feeney Park.
These projects should be easier to find funding for, thanks to the master plan, Collins said.
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