Letters to the Editor, Thursday, December 11, 2003

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Park would boost city?s appeal and economy I read with interest the comments by the former council members on the 4.3-acre park, Journal, Dec. 10. I am appalled by their ignorance. First, the park serves a dual purpose, acting as a flood detention basin to prevent flooding in Old Town Auburn. That flooding damages businesses, which has a definite negative impact on the economy and pocket books of the merchants involved. Second, the business environment of a community is not based only on how much soil you have covered by parking lots. It is also measured by whether the community is attractive and nice to live in or to visit. The 4.3-acre park will serve those interests better than the alternatives discussed by the former councilmen. As a majority of the funding for the park is coming from private sources, who well understand these benefits, all I can say is that it appears to be a good thing that the word ?former? precedes the word ?councilmen? in this instance. William A. Clough Auburn Downtown park could be yet another Auburn gem The downtown park observations of Bud Pisarek and O. C. Taylor on the Auburn Journal?s front page, Dec. 10, clearly indicate to me exactly why neither was elected to serve future terms on Auburn?s City Council. The 4.3-acre downtown park is one of the nicest things to happen to Auburn. The park will help distinguish Auburn from every other small, nondescript city in the Sierra. Residents of Auburn should be applauding the efforts of folks who have worked diligently on this process for several years. The park will serve as a place to recreate spirits, relax from the busyness of downtown, join in gatherings to celebrate a family, enjoy a small art show, see a unique theatre production, or simply to appreciate the beauty of the space. Joanne Neft Auburn River project is evidence of government levels working I would like to add a little background to (Journal reporter) Ryan McCarthy?s Dec. 10 article on the pump/restoration project in the canyon. The Bureau of Reclamation first proposed restoring permanent pumps in the canyon and closing the tunnel in 1994. Our motive was to be able to meet our contractual obligations with Placer County Water Agency and to address the safety hazard with the tunnel. A partnership was subsequently formed with PCWA and designs were well underway by 1996. Shortly after the flood of New Year?s Day in 1997, an effort to re-evaluate Auburn dam was begun and the design effort was revised to have the pumps take water from above the tunnel, leaving the river diverted. The state threatened a lawsuit in 1999 and since the effort to revive Auburn dam had stalled in Congress, Reclamation reached a decision to return to the original concept. Reclamation then entered a cost-sharing agreement with the state that would have provided up to $8,000,000 in state funding. The state ultimately obligated $4,000,000 for river restoration work. I think it is significant for your readers to understand that Reclamation conceived and has been involved with this effort for nearly 10 years, and we have formed a successful partnership with PCWA and the state, in which all have contributed time and money to bring a long-standing effort to conclusion. It is an excellent example of different governments cooperating to achieve a common good. Thank you for your continuing interest and reporting on the pump/restoration project. Tom Aiken, Area Manager U.S. Bureau of Reclamation