Hopes slim for Truckee conservancy office
NEVADA CITY – Area officials have learned the Sierra Nevada Conservancy plans to locate its headquarters within two hours of Sacramento, below the snow line and along the Interstate 80 or 5 corridors.While these criteria seemingly eliminate Truckee, town officials believe that the guidelines are not rigid, and that Truckee still is a potential candidate for the agency’s headquarters.”We don’t feel it’s decided yet,” said Truckee Mayor Craig Threshie. “We feel we’re still in the running.”Threshie said that the guidelines put Truckee at a disadvantage in the town’s bid for the headquarters, but added that the conservancy board should think twice before centering the agency in the lowlands.”We think that it is a real mistake to have the activities of the conservancy taking place in what is essentially the valley,” Threshie said. “We still think with our 300 days of sunshine a year, and our great access to Sacramento, that we should still be the chosen site.”Meanwhile Nevada City, which has lobbied hard for the headquarters, was encouraged by the criteria that leaves the Nevada County seat as a top contender.”That puts us right on it,” said Nevada City Mayor Conley Weaver, who has helped lead the push to make his western Nevada County city the home of the future conservancy office.He also said the conservancy legislation demands it be placed in one of 22 Sierra-Cascade counties, and Sacramento County is not one of them. The conservancy was projected to bring 70 jobs and $10 million a year to a Sierra community.While the reported guidelines seem to benefit Nevada City, the formula also fits the other foothill towns of Auburn, Colfax, Placerville, Amador City, Ione and Jackson – all of which have expressed interest.Truckee and Nevada City made presentations at the first conservancy meeting in May, while the other six did not. Auburn City Councilman Kevin Handley made a preliminary pitch for the headquarters at the June 30 meeting. “We’ve sent information packets to the (conservancy) board,” Handley said. “We’re conveniently located at the junction of I-80 and Highway 49, above the fog line and below the snow line.”Nevada City sent the board individualized informational packets earlier this year. Weaver said a campaign coordinated by the Sierra Fund of Nevada City to push license plates that would fund the conservancy was also taken well by the new board at the June meeting.”They want year-round access and proximity to Sacramento (for board members and conservancy employees),” said Nevada City Administrator Mark Miller. “Board member Bob Kirkwood said the first economic project will be the site selection, and we have the amenities.”Kirkwood and another board member make up the selection committee for the conservancy’s executive officer. Advertising for the position should start in the next few weeks, according to state Resources Department spokeswoman Alex Tollette.”We’ve heard they’ll wait to find a location until after they hire a director,” said Shawn Garvey, the Sierra Fund’s chief executive officer.According to conservancy documents, applications will be taken until Aug. 10, with an offer to the top candidate scheduled for Sept. 16 and an Oct. 10 starting date. The documents said the conservancy is looking for someone with state government and budget experience who has dealt with Sierra issues.- Sierra Sun Reporter David Bunker contributed to this article.