Sonora seeks input from public

Written by Christina O'Haver, The Union Democrat December 21, 2012 07:29 am

The City of Sonora is asking residents for their input on ways to improve the city — a step in formulating its state-funded revitalization plan. 

The plan aims to address several concerns within the city including lack of public transit facilities, limited parking spaces, pedestrian safety, traffic congestion and historic preservation. 

 

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

The plan encompasses downtown Sonora and highway corridors leading into downtown.

In effort to involve the public in the process, the City of Sonora developed the “Vision Sonora” aspect of the plan.

By logging onto www.visionsonora.info, residents can weigh in on the areas of the city they feel need improvement.

Suggestions submitted to the website since it went live about two weeks ago include improving parking, sidewalks, signage, homeless services, wheelchair accessibility and the appearance of the city.

“It really boils down to what’s important to the community,” said Tuolumne County Transportation Council Executive Director Darin Grossi. “No matter what we do, we’ll know it’s the improvements that have the broadest support.”

The website also asks the public which assets the city should take advantage of to boost tourism — historical museums, art galleries, Sonora Opera Hall, specialty and antique shops, historic buildings, Mother Lode Fairgrounds or Dragoon Gulch Trail. 

“Definitely one of the goals is economic development,” Grossi said. “Tourism is certainly a part of that.”

The other aspect of “Vision Sonora” is a public event planned for Jan. 16 to 19, called “Visioning Week.”

The schedule is not yet finalized but will include workshops, group discussions, and trolley and walking tours. Attendees will learn about the revitalization plan, meet the project team and share their ideas.

A steering committee made up of representatives from the City of Sonora Public Works Department, Tuolumne County Transportation Council and Caltrans will oversee the plan and its implementation. 

An advisory committee consisting of the Tuolumne County Visitor’s Bureau, Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce, Sonora businesses and residents will meet with the steering committee to review the plan’s progress. 

The grant, which was written by Grossi and Sonora City Councilman Bill Canning, will run until Feb. 28, 2014, and fund only the planning phase of the project.

The Transportation Council intends to apply for other grants and use existing funds to execute the plan, Grossi said.