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Shockley trails, board pay set for meeting

Residents need to be kept in loop on project, director says
By: Bridget Jones, Journal Staff Writer
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A recreation district meeting could decide on a cut in board member pay and a new trail system in Auburn. The Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District board of directors is set to discuss the possibility of a Shockley Property trail system at Thursday night’s meeting. In March 2009 the ARD board accepted a donation of 28 acres of land off Shockley Road near Auburn Ravine Road. The William B. Shockley and Emmy L. Shockley Trust donated the property along with $50,000 to establish and maintain the property for use as a park named for the Shockleys, according to district documents. In September 2009 the board issued a statement saying it had no intention of improving the property for public use in the near future, according to district documents. Kahl Muscott, district administrator, acknowledged the statement but said the board has asked for the issue to come back to the table. “There is some interest in looking at putting some trails up there,” Muscott said Wednesday. “It is kind of investigatory at this point.” When asked who brought the item forward, Muscott did not specify. He responded that Director Gordon Ainsleigh is a big proponent of trails on the property. “He is the one who first brought this in,” Muscott said. Ainsleigh said Wednesday he was surprised to find out the item was scheduled for Thursday’s agenda, and he thinks it’s too early to make a decision, because ARD’s Acquisition and Development Committee hasn’t had a chance to work on the project. “We are the committee that deals with that, and (the project) is not ready,” Ainsleigh said. “We have to meet with the residents to see what they want … and we haven’t done that. I’d like to see where we could find common ground between Mrs. Shockley’s wishes and the residents’ wishes.” Ainsleigh said he thinks the trails project is important, because it would honor Mrs. Shockley’s wishes for a wildland park on the property. “The only way to turn wildland into a park … is to put trails in,” he said. Muscott said he has been told the district could fit 1.5 or 2 miles of trail on the property, where there are currently some unimproved paths. According to district documents, the total estimated cost for the project is $49,225 with an annual estimated cost of $2,320 per mile. There is currently $37,198 in the Shockley Trust fund. According to Muscott, the other portion of the money was spent on Cal Fire creating a shaded fuel break for the property. Muscott said there are a number of ways the district could potentially pay for the remainder of the project if it does go forward including general fund monies, capital construction reserve account funds, mitigation fee revenues and grants. Muscott said any residents interested in the project going forward have not approached him. The trail system could be a nice addition to the community, Muscott said. “It would be kind of a nice oasis, especially for the neighbors there,” he said. “I think the neighborhood would enjoy it. Whether or not they would enjoy the possibility of other people coming into the neighborhood, that’s another question.” The project could be approved Thursday, but also has the potential of being sent back to the Acquisition and Development Committee for further review, Muscott said. The board is also set to discuss a potential reduction in board member compensation. Directors currently receive $500 monthly, and the agenda item proposes a cut of 10 percent, or $50 per month, according to district documents. According to the documents, this reduction would save the district $3,000 in the 2011/2012 fiscal year. “In all honesty, this is a somewhat symbolic gesture,” said Director Scott Holbrook. “We feel the employees, the staff, everyone has been working together to tighten the belt. Basically everyone is sharing the hurt so to speak so we can give the best we can to the community. Board reimbursement is not a major budget impact item.” Holbrook said the $3,000 would go back into the general fund and be spent on future needs. “No matter what, $3,000 can pay for a lot of things,” he said. “It definitely will help.” ARD board members don’t receive any type of health benefits, Holbrook said. Holbrook said he definitely thinks the board’s compensation is important to its members. “When you do a job you should get some pay for it,” he said. “We take a lot of heat, we take a lot of hits. What I try to do with that money is take a little time with the family, take a little trip or something like that.” Reach Bridget Jones at bridgetj@goldcountrymedia.com ------------------------------------------------------- Auburn Area Recreation and Parks District board meeting When: 6 p.m. Thursday Where: Canyon View Community Center Board Room, 471 Maidu Drive, Auburn