Supervisors seek name for new road

Chris Caskey, The Union Democrat

Tuolumne County residents will have an opportunity to weigh in on naming the county's newest road.

The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday put off a decision to name the access road to the future site of the Law and Justice Center and requested county staff seek suggestions. The staff recommendation for the name of the road, located where Old Wards Ferry Road meets Highway 108, was Justice Center Drive.

However, multiple members of the board and public expressed disappointment in the name.

"It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue very well," said Sonora resident Jim Garaventa, who suggested naming the road after a former sheriff.

The board will revisit the issue Dec. 18, and supervisors asked county staff to make an effort in the coming weeks to collect suggestions.

The short road will be the main access for people visiting the law enforcement campus, which is expected to eventually house a new jail, courthouse, juvenile hall, attorney offices and multiple law enforcement headquarters.

According to Maureen Frank, a deputy county administrator, the county is under somewhat of a time crunch to name the street. Because multiple buildings on the site will be funded by the state, some of the paperwork required for the funding will need an official address - which will require a street name.

Frank said they will need a name no later than the end of January.

"The state's holding the money bag," said board Chairman Dick Pland. "Let's not do anything to delay that potential check writing from Sacramento."

While no one at the meeting disagreed with soliciting public input, Supervisor John Gray warned against naming it after a person as it can lead to hurt feelings over the potential names that aren't chosen.

Gray also said he doesn't mind Justice Center Drive, as it tells visitors where they are and where they're going.

"There's probably a lot of different ideas out there," Gray said.

In other action, the board:

• Approved hiring a new jail commander for the county Sheriff's Office and a part-time clerk for the office.

The commander will cost $125,000 a year, with half coming from the state and the other half coming from an eliminated jail deputy position. AB 109 was a cost-cutting measure by the state implemented last year, which put counties in charge of incarcerating and monitoring people convicted of certain "nonviolent" and "non-serious" felonies that previously earned prison terms.

County officials have said the legislation will put more stress on the local jail, which will make the need for a jail commander greater.

• Approved a project to install a solar-panel farm on O'Byrnes Ferry Road. The proposal calls for a 14.6-acre solar farm with 6,000 panels on about 100 mounts, which could power 500 homes.

The Union Democrat
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