‘Visioning Week’ hits Sonora

Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat

The City of Sonora will host public workshops, tours, discussion groups and mixers next week to kick off a new state-funded revitalization plan.

"Visioning Week" will run from Wednesday, Jan. 16 through Saturday, Jan. 19 and allow Mother Lode residents to weigh in on how to improve downtown Sonora.

The Community Revitalization Plan aims to address downtown parking, traffic congestion, pedestrian safety, beautification, historic preservation, business development and other areas.

"It's an exciting time for Sonora and for everyone to be involved," Councilmember Bill Canning said.

The plan, funded by a $225,000 Caltrans grant, is a joint effort between the City of Sonora and Tuolumne County Transportation Council.

The project team, which also includes a consulting firm, expect to complete the plan by the end of the year, before the grant expires on Feb. 28, 2014.

The grant only funds the planning phase of Sonora's facelift, but the Transportation Council intends to apply for other grants and use existing funds to execute ideas, according to executive director Darin Grossi.

"Visioning Week" was preceded by the December launch of the "Vision Sonora" website - www.visionsonora.info - where the community has been discussing ideas.

Suggestions submitted to the website thus far include improving parking, sidewalks, signage, homeless services, wheelchair accessibility, parks and the overall appearance of the city.

The schedule for "Visioning Week" is as follows:

Wednesday, Jan 16

Walking tour of Stockton Street corridor, noon to 1 p.m. Meet at Mother Lode Fairgrounds, 220 Southgate Drive.

Meeting with advisory and steering committees, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Opera Hall, 250 S. Washington St.

Walking tour of South Washington Street corridor, 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Meet at Opera Hall.

Mixer with Sonora Chamber of Commerce, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. No-host bar and appetizers included. Opera Hall.

Community workshop with brief overview of "Vision Sonora" project and interactive exercises, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Opera Hall.

Thursday, Jan. 17

Meeting with Sonora High School leadership class to hear students' ideas, 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. Not open to the public.

Walking tour of North Washington Street corridor, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Meet in front of Sonora High School auditorium, 100 School St.

Discussion of downtown business and economic development, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Opera Hall.

Brown bag project open house, noon to 1:30 p.m. The project team will analyze input from previous events and work on initial concepts. Opera Hall.

Discussion of healthy living in Sonora, 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. Opera Hall.

Community workshop to address the city's appearance and functionality, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 18

Trolley tour to scope out areas in need of improvement, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m or 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Space is limited. RSVP at 532-3508 or rkellogg@sonoraca.com . Meet at Opera Hall.

Discussion of historic preservation, 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Opera Hall.

Brown bag project open house, noon to 1:30 p.m. The project team will analyze input from previous events and work on initial concepts. Opera Hall.

Discussion of parking and signage, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Opera Hall.

Discussion of promoting tourism in Sonora, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. Opera Hall.

Saturday, Jan. 19

Workshop with hands-on activities to refine and build upon ideas gathered over the previous three days, 9 a.m. to noon.

The Union Democrat
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