Sonora council to consider park changes, branding consultant

By Alex MacLean, The Union Democrat

Sonora City Council, 5 p.m. Monday, City Hall, 94 N. Washington St.

The Sonora City Council will consider some suggested changes to Coffill Park and hiring a branding consultant at a meeting scheduled for Monday night.

In addition, the council will consider a request from the Sonora Chamber of Commerce to host concerts in Coffill Park during the monthly Second Saturday Art Night events in June, August, September and October.

Two committees have approved recommended changes for Coffill Park that involve removing a stone monument in the center, installing an access ramp at the entrance off Green Street, and adding or repairing lighting and fencing.

The removal of the stone monument is aimed at making the park safer and more open for hosting events, while installing the ramp is intended to make it more accessible for people with disabilities.

An existing ramp on the northern side of the park would be fenced off because people have to traverse a private parking lot to access it.

City Administrator Tim Miller has said the city’s Public Works Department will be able to handle installation and repairs to lighting and fencing, as well as the removal of the monument.

However, the access ramp improvements still need to be designed and approved by the council at a later date.

The changes have been supported by Vision Sonora supporters, the Coffill family, and the Sonora Lions Club, which originally installed the monument in 1973.

Mayor Connie Williams has said the one of the goals behind the improvements is to encourage more use of the park.

That goal could be realized if the council approves the chamber’s request to host monthly concerts at the park this summer.

The chamber wants the council to approve a special-event permit for temporary closures of Coffill Park between 6 and 11 p.m. on June 10, Aug. 12, Sept. 9 and Oct. 14 for a new concert series the chamber would host during Second Saturday Art Night events on those dates.

The actual concerts are proposed to run from 8 to 10 pm.

Possession and consumption of beer and wine would be allowed at the park during the concert subject to the chamber obtaining a license from the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and approval by the Sonora Police Department.

The chamber would also be required to obtain liability insurance and provide staffing at the park’s entrances and exits to control access.

Finally, after being unable to come up with a new slogan, or “brand,” to help promote downtown Sonora, the Vision Sonora Branding Subcommittee has recognized the need for professional help.

The council will consider allowing the city administrator and city attorney to work on an appropriate process for seeking out a branding consultant.

In August, the subcommittee offered two options for a new slogan: “Sonora: A small town” or “Sonora: More than a small town.”

Comments on a Facebook poll revealed that many people were underwhelmed by the two suggestions, so the subcommittee went back to the drawing board.

The estimated cost for the consultant’s services is less than $10,000. Some of the $5,000 that the council previously approved for marketing are available, as well as additional unallocated funds.

Also at the meeting, the council will hand out awards for firefighters, the police department and longtime employees.

Recipients of the Firefighter of the Year awards are:

• Fire Chief Aimee New - career category

• Fire Engineer Patrick Kerrigan - part-time category

• Firefighter Trevor Mayo-Corallo - intern category

• Firefighter Dustin Woodson - volunteer category

Recipients of the Police Department Employee of the Year awards are:

• Officer John Bowly - Officer of the Year

• Officer Dennis Townsend - Reserve Officer of the Year

• Community Services Officer Char Logan - Civilian Employee of the Year

• Community Services Volunteer Robby Roberts - Community Service Volunteer of the Year

• Explorers Victor Battle - Ronald Billings II Explorer of the Year

Recipients for long-time service to the city are:

• Deborah Dills, police department, 10 years

• Krishna Livingston, police department, 10 years

• Tammy Gillespie, police department, 15 years

• Rachelle Kellogg, community development director, 20 years

The Union Democrat
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