New committee will guide Streetscape history, art

By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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As part of a new commission, 11 local residents will be charged with creating a plan for the history and artwork featured in the city’s Streetscape renovations. This week, the Auburn Urban Development Authority created the Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee. The city is seeking applicants for the ad-hoc committee. Deputy city clerk Anne Cooey said three applications have already been received as of Thursday. The new committee will be starting from scratch to develop a history walk and criteria for artwork after initial plans to put an endurance sports plaza at Central Square were scrapped. An an Aug. 24 authority meeting, members of the public complained they didn’t have enough input on the proposal made by the Auburn Endurance Capital Committee to honor endurance athletes and events on granite tiles. “The greater outreach for more community involvement and so forth is what we really needed,” said Mike Holmes, Auburn mayor. “We want them to be thorough. The committee members can call upon other members of the community for input. They’re not just going to be in a room together forming a plan.” Although a history walk was originally conceptualized to be part of Streetscape, the undertaking was so large it was put off to a later phase of the project, said City Manager Bob Richardson. “So now (the advisory committee) will embark upon trying to tell the entire Auburn story throughout the little more than a mile-and-a-half stretch, if you’re including both sides of the street,” he said. How Auburn’s story is told would be left up to the committee, he said. Subcommittees would be assigned to categories, such as mining history, railroad history or Indian history. They would also determine the best methods for conveying the history, be it on etched tiles, sidewalk stamps or plaques. “Some areas of Streetscape will have new sidewalks, some areas we’ll keep the same sidewalks, other areas will get tiles,” Richardson said. “So it’s not just what information goes on, it’s what medium is it on?” The committee would also determine what type of artwork will be featured in 10 predetermined locations along the Streetscape route. The committee will hold public meetings with agendas posted on the city’s Web site, Richardson said. Acording to a proposed timeline, the committee would have a final report to the authority by July 2010. One vocal opponent of the original plan for an endurance plaza was Michael Otten, president of the Placer County Historical Society. He said the endurance theme didn’t relate to all Auburn citizens and there wasn’t adequate community involvement in the process. Otten said the creation of a committee was a step in the right direction. “I think this is good, but this committee is going to have its work cut out for it,” he said. For instance, the committee’s members may have many different interpretation’s of Auburn’s history, he said. “I’m glad a lot of attention has been paid to this,” Otten said. “There’s going to be better input and a better group of people involved and I think that’s a good thing.” Applications are due Thursday, Oct. 8, and Holmes said he expects the authority to make the appointments to the committee at its Oct. 12 meeting. Streetscape is a $12 million, 10-phase street renovation project that stretches from Old Town to Downtown. The $2 million first phase, which is currently under construction at the intersection of Lincoln Way and High Street, will create a central plaza with public artwork, planter boxes, benches, a fire pit, living Christmas tree and more. Michelle Miller-Carl can be reached at ---------- How to apply Those who wish to serve on the Auburn Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee can find an application form at the city’s Web site,, or contact Anne Cooey, Deputy City Clerk, Room 8, City Hall, 1225 Lincoln Way. Phone (530) 823-4211, ext. 112. The last date applications will be accepted is Thursday, Oct. 8. ---------- Who will be on the Streetscape History and Art Advisory Committee? The 11-member committee will be composed of: - 1 Auburn Urban Development Authority board member* - 5 at-large members who are Auburn residents - 1 member of the Auburn Arts Commission - 1 member of a historical society or organization - 1 member of the Auburn Endurance Capital Committee - 1 member of the Old Town Business Association - 1 member of the Downtown Business Association *Auburn Urban Development Authority Chairman Mike Holmes nominated board member Keith Nesbitt to represent the authority on the new committee.