You may have to scroll down the email on your phone to see info on the green buttons.
Brianne Zorn - Martinez City Councilmember
When our parched earth finally gets some drops of water, we breathe a sigh of relief. When we get actual storms to begin refilling our reservoirs, we celebrate in song.
The forecast calls for rain for several days. I hope that you can enjoy the change of pace, throw on a sweatshirt and cuddle up with a cup of hot coffee/tea/cocoa. While you’re relaxing indoors, I wanted to provide you with some updates on a variety of Martinez topics:
Alhambra Highlands: City Council discussed Alhambra Highlands during the July 21, 2021 meeting. We created an ad-hoc subcommittee to identify a path to preserve the land as open space and to assess the public interest in, and community support for, purchasing this parcel of land from the developer. More information on next steps will be available later this year.
Pine Meadow: The Parks, Recreation, Marina, and Cultural Commission (PRMCC) has established a schedule for regular public workshops to discuss priorities for the use of the available $850,000 to create the newest Martinez park. A landscape architecture firm is supporting this effort and is designing based on the input from the public. The designs from these meetings will dictate how the land is prepared by the developer. We only have until early 2022 to finalize these designs. The next meeting is at 5:30 on November 16 prior to the regular monthly PRMCC meeting.
Marina: I know there was a flurry of negative comments on social media when the City Council approved closing the pier, but it was the right thing to do (see my article from last month!). During the subsequent October 6 meeting, City staff and the contract engineer (specializing in piers and overwater structures) presented to City Council emergency repairs that could be done to reopen a portion of the pier to pedestrian access. We approved $60,000 in emergency funding and the plans and specifications for these temporary repairs. At this time, they have moved forward with preparing applications for emergency permitting and preparing a request for proposals for a contractor to complete the work. We are still waiting on the Prop 68 grant to refurbish the fishing pier in its entirety and the surrounding paths and grass areas. The date has been updated to the end of October when we anticipate hearing whether we received the grant.
Recovery Funding: The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has authorized over $9 million to the city of Martinez for infrastructure, water, and broadband. The City Council and staff held an initial workshop to discuss possible ways to invest in Martinez. Potential uses might be for the development of a Park Master Plan, equitable broadband, improvements to City Hall, additional repairs to the waterfront, and improved transportation options. Staff have fleshed out a more detailed list of options and these will be presented and discussed at a public workshop on October 27. Join us! https://www.cityofmartinez.org/depts/finance/covid_19_federal_relief_funds_(arpa).asp
General Plan: The City Planning staff have begun working on a schedule for public meetings and initial drafts for review of the General Plan Update. The General Plan Update is a priority of the City Council. It is important to note that the Council has highlighted the importance of public comment and participation in this process. I am optimistic that you will begin to see the first of these public engagement phases by the end of 2021.The current schedule is to have the General Plan Update completed by the end of 2022.
Parking Study: Not the hottest item on the list, but a parking study has been initiated and will be completed in a few months. The report will include a summary of parking availability and limitations, and will include recommendations for wayfinding signage.
Upgrades to the Water Treatment Plant: In December 2020, the City Council approved the funding for the replacement of the ozone system at the Water Treatment Plant. This project is now moving forward. The replacement will take approximately 6 months. During this time, the water treatment system will be chlorine-based, so you may notice a slight change in the taste of your water. https://www.cityofmartinez.org/depts/water/drinking_water_improvements.asp
Enjoy the view of the rain pattering at your windowpanes these next few days. Better yet, throw on a raincoat and go for a walk with your favorite kid. And of course, feel free to sing.
Our Last Chance to Save this Gem!
We’re at a pivotal moment in this 30-year campaign.
The Texas-based developer of the “Alhambra Highlands” is willing to negotiate with the City of Martinez acquisition as permanent open space if we have enough public support.
Martinez City Council will be conducting a poll to see if Martinez citizens are interested in saving this open space jewel so it can be experienced by all future generations.
This 300 acre parcel is the highest ridgeline in the City of Martinez. Located between Alhambra Avenue and Alhambra Valley Road/Reliez Valley Road, it was once owned by John Muir and commands sweeping views of Mt. Diablo and the Carquinez Straits. This property can connect a trail system to Mt. Wanda for all to enjoy!
Save The Jail: The fight continues
Lawsuit #2 filed
The Save-The-Jail effort got a short reprieve from the judge last week with some extra time to raise the funds we need to continue the fight on our original lawsuit. But the clock is ticking. There are several hearings in the next two months, and we very much need the continued support of the community.
The APFCCC has filed a second CEQA lawsuit. It addresses not only the Jail, but the lack of a proper EIR for the County’s expanded vision for its Martinez County Office Campus, which is now planned to a have a second new Administration Building, complete with parking and food service. The Campus plan also includes a huge concrete plaza where the 1903 Jail and the 1944 Jail Annex are, removing Pine Street between Main and Escobar, and encompassing the entire area from the back of the Finance Building to the front of where the old Administration Building is.
The County is the largest employer in Martinez. In the past, Valco Drug closed when the County went to half-hour lunch breaks. As the new Campus is planned, employees will be able to drive to work, park, have lunch and breaks, and then drive home without ever having to set foot outside the County Campus, or spend a dollar in Martinez. The County’s plan destroys our history, and hurts our City.
Please sign our petition here that will be symbolic of how many people care about preservation! Let’s hit 300!
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all your help! APFCCC Cheryll Grover, President
Architectural Preservation Foundation of Contra Costa County (APFCCC)
The Martinez Independent Redistricting Commission has begun its work to redraw the voting districts for the City of Martinez. Thousand Friends of Martinez encourages all citizens of Martinez to attend the commission meetings to provide input on this important process and to ensure that the process is completed in a fair and transparent manner. Independent Redistricting Commission Meetings are held at 6:00 PM, every 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month through end of April 2022, via Zoom Video/Teleconference. For more information on the Redistricting process, and to view upcoming and past Commission Agendas, please visit the city's Redistricting webpage.
More about Thousand Friends of Martinez
The Mission of Thousand Friends of Martinez is to provide a stable organization which will work with residents to elect informed, conscientious representatives; promote open government; enhance our quality of life by creating a livable city; defend our parks and open spaces, and; conserve natural areas and historic elements in the greater Martinez region.
Our Objectives are to:
Endorse, support and fund responsible and environmentally supportive leaders
Promote transparent government
Promote better land use planning and the development of policies for the public benefit
Defend parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements
Support budgeting, ballot measures and funding for these purposes
Educate the public about these objectives and strategies
HELP THE CAUSE
Help Martinez strive for more transparent government, enlightened land use concepts and to defend parks, creeks, wetlands, open space and historic elements