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Council adopts plan for Dinky crossing

By: Cheri March, Colfax Record Correspondent
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Colfax City Council members took care of ongoing business Wednesday, approving a design for Dinky Avenue and updating the way the city uses federal Community Development Block Grant money.

Dinky Crossing

Council members approved updated design plans for the area around Dinky Avenue, also referred to by many residents as Dinky Way.

The railroad crossing at Dinky Avenue was permanently closed in July at the request of the California Public Utilities Commission and Union Pacific Railroad. Both groups as well as the city were concerned about vehicle and pedestrian safety due to the deteriorating asphalt and lack of signage at the unrestricted crossing.

Design changes included upgrading a chain-link fence to a wrought iron fence and eliminating a previously proposed street light at the intersection of Dinky and Highway 174.

Councilmember Suzanne Roberts suggested the change in fencing.

“I didn’t like the fact that (the chain-link fence) looked like concertina wire,” Roberts explained.

The city and California Public Utilities Commission made the decision to remove the light after a final review meeting. The California Public Utilities Commission, not Caltrans, has the regulatory authority to make the ultimate decision about the placement of a light

With the design finalized, the city plans to seek bids for the project in December or January.

 

Block grant program

Council members officially revised the city’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program to allow more flexibility.

Until recently, funds from the city’s grant Income Reuse Plan – in other words, revenue from previous CDBG projects in the city – could only be used for activities like housing rehabilitation and business lending.

As of April 2010, the city is eligible to petition the program to fund other activities that would benefit Colfax residents.

After receiving approval, the council voted in May to transfer $180,000 from the city’s approximately $291,000 in uncommitted program income to the municipal pool rehabilitation project.

 

Parks Committee

 

Members of a new ad hoc parks committee presented the group’s research findings to the council.

Originally formed by the Weimar-Applegate-Colfax Municipal Advisory Council, the group has evolved into a citizen committee that aims to increase opportunities for casual recreation like dog parks, picnic grounds and greenways in “the heart of Gold Country,” or the area between Applegate and Gold Run, while also protecting open space from development, explained committee member Nancy Hagman.

“We want to continue to be able to enjoy our quality of life, but more importantly, we want to preserve it for future generations,” Hagman said.

Next up, the group hopes to conduct a parks survey, identifying volunteer, community and nonprofit organizations that could aid its goal, and create relationships with government groups.

Alpine pointed out that the city already adopted a 2006 master plan study that identified parks, but the county has yet to adopt the document, which includes park areas outside city limits.

If approved, findings from the parks committee could be used to update the study.

Council members recommended that the group address how maintenance would be funded after the parks are built, and whether citizens would be willing to pay an assessment fee.

“I think it’s a good start and I’m glad this group has picked up the ball,” Alpine said. “I agree (park space) is a cornerstone of economic development. People decide to locate a business here or move here for a certain type of lifestyle – an active, foothills lifestyle.”

 

In other action:

·                    Placer County Sheriff’s Lt. Troy Minton-Sander was honored for his work at the Colfax substation. Minton-Sander is leaving Colfax after a promotion from sergeant to lieutenant.

·                    The council also recognized the Colfax Area Historical Society for contributions to Colfax, including its role in increasing tourism.

“There have been 30,000 people to come through the museum. That’s 30,000 people who have visited downtown Colfax since (the museum) opened,” said Mayor Josh Alpine.