Main Street Pride project approved

Karen DeRoss and Paul Palfini
Ken Palfini, left, discusses the Main Street Pride project during a walking tour downtown at the Aug. 10 Weed City Council special meeting.

After much discussion and a walk downtown Tuesday of last week, the Weed City Council gave the go-ahead to the Main Street Pride project during a special meeting.

Weed Pride Committee members and other residents expressed frustration about the speed at which the project was moving.

“It’s time to get moving,” said Ken Palfini of the WPC, who was the main speaker at the meeting.

The council and interested parties took a walk down Main Street so the WPC could explain the details of the project.

Council members present on the walk were Bob Hall, Chuck Sutton, Leo Sartor and Mayor Dave Pearce. It was the second walk the council has taken to learn about the project. While on the walk, city attorney Bob Winston requested that council members refrain from discussing the project due to a lack of documentation.

During a previous walk in July, it was determined that the proposed tree wells would take up too much space, making Main Street dangerously narrow, especially for large vehicles such as fire trucks. Since then, the WPC came up with a new design for the tree wells that brings them in 18 inches, allowing for more space. “We’ve flagged areas for snowplows on either side of the proposed tree wells,” said Palfini.

Palfini explained that the tree wells, which will eliminate seven total parking spaces, will be fed automatically with water. The trees that currently line Main Street will not be transplanted. It is more cost effective to simply remove them.

Other aspects of the project include the beautification of the creek across from Les Schwab and improving the drainage to prevent flooding in front of Hecker’s Power Equipment.

“Plans call for new street lights about every 50 feet,” said Palfini. Currently, a light post on the corner of East Lake and Main Street is proving to be a hazard; it can be tilted considerably by having a hand placed on it. A few light posts have already been removed because of exposed wires at the base.

The project will also replace white line crosswalks with stamped concrete. Palfini and WPC and council member Bob Hall stressed that Weed will be the only town in Siskiyou County to have these kind of crosswalks, which will help the town stand out. “The purpose of this is to make Weed into a more pedestrian friendly area. More people walking equals better business,” said Hall.

Following the walk, council member Jerry Broomfield joined the meeting.

Mayor Pearce brought up the issue of businesses that are opposed to the project. “Some businesses don’t want this, they’ll lose parking spaces,” he said. “My concern is getting something in writing, in the form of permission, from each property owner. I want every owner to sign off on their tree wells.”

Broomfield expressed his concern regarding liability issues.

Palfini and council member Sutton offered a view opposed to that.

“Parking is not an issue. We’re losing only seven spaces... there is plenty of extra parking on other streets,” said Palfini, stressing that the real issue is the lack of customers. Also, “There is no more liability than already exists,” he said.

Sutton said WPC members are “going out of their way to improve business around here. We don’t need pieces of paper with signatures.”

Later in the meeting, Broomfield clarified, “I’m all for this (project), but I was asked to bring these issues up, so I must.”

WPC member Todd Shoffstoll said, “We’re starting to split a lot of unnecessary hairs. We’ve proven community support. What we’re starting will hopefully continue for years. We have funding, help, momentum. Signing a paper is giving people a chance to cop out.”

After “over a year of involvement, nobody has shown any resistance,” said WPC member and property owner Margaret Dean. “How long before our funding expires? We’re giving these properties an asset.”

Pearce stressed that he has heard resistance from business owners. “I’m the only one on the council that’s gone through every business,” he said. “Some are adamant, they don’t want this.”

Palfini replied by asking why the owners have only spoken to Mayor Pearce instead of making their concerns known to the WPC.

As Sutton was calling for a vote to approve the project, community member Vaune Dillmann, president of Mt. Shasta Brewing Co., expressed frustration with “absentee landlords” who object but “do not show up to object.”

Business owners Sherry Young (Edgewood Custom Interiors) and Dave Culbertson (Papa’s Place) voiced their support of the project. “I just had an 80 year old woman stumble off our curb and say, ‘Gosh, it’ll sure be nice when you get this sidewalk fixed,’” said Young.

Recognizing the benefit this poses for his business, Culbertson said, “Let’s get this going.”

City finance director Kelly McKinnis said, “I know the community is behind this. I’m happy to get this going,” admitting that it should have been approved and in progress already. “We should have done this walk through a year ago,” said Hall.

The project was ultimately approved by unanimous vote of the council.

Virgil Tuman spoke in favor of the Main Street Pride project during the Aug. 10 Weed City Council special meeting.