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Auburn community leaders share 2012 resolutions

Auburn City, Chamber, Old Town and Interfaith Food Closet leaders share goals for the new year
By: Sara Seyydin Journal Staff Writer
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As the ball dropped this weekend, a new year of opportunities opened up to Auburn. Local community leaders say they have taken inventory of last year and set some goals to move Auburn organizations ahead in 2012. Mayor calls on volunteers Newly appointed Mayor Keith Nesbitt said he will be focused on seeing revitalization and other projects move forward this year in the City of Auburn. “My resolution would be a call to volunteers to come up with projects to help keep the city moving forward,” Nesbitt said. “My New Year’s Resolution is do whatever I can to keep the city moving forward.” Nesbitt said that although state funds for redevelopment won’t be given to any cities in California this year, the projects that were started to revitalize Auburn with redevelopment funds still need to be completed. Streetscape Phase II will be finished with the remaining money, but the remaining phases will take community involvement. “We have not run out of desire or enthusiasm for the projects,” Nesbitt said. “My resolution would be to continue to build that through some volunteers.” He said his goal has always been to make Auburn a more walkable community and in 2012 he’ll continue that mission. “My goal was for a more walkable community. We are moving toward that goal,” Nesbitt said. “When people want to get out and walk and linger in town people tend to enjoy it more and spend a few more dollars.” Several other important decisions will take place for the City of Auburn in 2012, including whether or not Auburn will become a charter city. Chamber ‘choosing’ a good year Bruce Cosgrove, Chief Executive Officer of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, said he has resolved to make this year positive, even economically. “The first thing that came to my mind is I think that we have had now about 3 and half years of challenging economic times and my first impulse for a resolution is to choose to have a good year in 2012 — because it is a choice,” Cosgrove said. “And to make the most of everything that I have control over, and just in general to enjoy what I do at the Chamber, what I do at the community and what I do with my family.” He is looking forward to seeing The Auburn App debut for iPhone and Android users. The free mobile app will direct users to things to see and do in Auburn. It will also help users easily access movie listings and call or message restaurants in Auburn. It’s tentatively scheduled to debut on Feb. 1. Old Town hoping for improvements Linda Robinson, President of the Old Town Business Association and owner of Sun River Clothing, said she is resolving to see some improvements made to Old Town. “A project that I started working on this past January is to get the “overflow” parking lot re-surfaced and I think our business community would encourage and support that,” Robinson said. “We’ve been working with the property owners and the city but without redevelopment funds, it’s a bigger challenge. My personal New Years resolution would be to see that project come to fruition.” Robinson said she is also looking forward to seeing the completion of the painting of the tin building that is home to Tio Pepe’s Mexican Restaurant and possibly some new signage. Food closet wants to match $25 K donation challenge The Auburn Interfaith Food Closet is aiming to meet a challenge made by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous. Sandy Bassett, president of the food closet said the donor has pledged to match up to $25,000 worth of donations, made in the form of food or money. “For any donations — money or food — donated in January and February, he will match that donation up to $25,000,” Bassett said. “We do want to meet that goal. He has done this before, but he picked us this year.” Bassett said she hopes the community will rally to meet the goal in what is traditionally a slow time for donations. “I guess the thing I can tell you is we have had to cut back on the amount of food we give out,” Bassett said. “We are hoping our donations are enough to meet the increased need. We are serving over 1,000 people a month. Food prices have been increasing and we are just having a hard time keeping up. I’m not sure what it is now after the holidays, but at the end of October we were $50,000 short of our budgeted needs.” Bassett said the food closet aims to provide families with food that is actually healthy, like milk, vegetables and eggs. She hopes the organization can partner with more local businesses to conduct food and donation drives. “The grocery stores have been really generous,” Bassett said. “The heart of people in Auburn is just awesome.” Reach Sara Seyydin at saras@goldcountrymedia.com.