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Revamping the river corridor

David Bunker
Photo by Josh Miller/Sierra Sun A view of the Truckee River with the country corporation yard in the background.
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When Truckee town planners look at the land along the Truckee River, they see acres of potential. If all goes according to plan, the town will come out of a six-month planning period with a vision of how the Truckee River corridor will be molded to realize its environmental, recreational and economic potential. The town’s ambitious strategy to revitalize the river corridor was officially kicked off Tuesday with a workshop to gather public input. Ideas on the drawing board for the section of the river that runs from the river’s confluence with Donner Creek to its intersection with Trout Creek range from parks and foot bridges to lodging and retail space. The specifics of the plan depend heavily on public input, but will follow the guidelines set out in the town’s General Plan, the Downtown Specific Plan and the Trails and Bikeways Master Plan, said Town Planner Duane Hall.

The guidelines for downtown encourage the relocation of industrial uses off of the river frontage and emphasize residential and commercial zoning as compatible uses along the river.The town has pursued this goal by ensuring industrial space is available at locations like the industrial park adjacent to the Pioneer Commerce Center and in the upcoming Planned Community 3 project near the intersection of state Route 267 and Brockway Road. “A lot of people along the river would not move because there is nowhere to go,” said Hall.Now, with industrial opportunities springing up around town, the relocation is slowly becoming a reality.

In the future, Truckee officials will work on developing financial incentives for industrial businesses that choose to relocate away from the river. Those could include help with moving and assistance in cleaning up the site after industrial uses leave the property.Other goals include linking the downtown commercial area with the river, improving the appearance of the Bridge Street bridge and enhancing wildlife and fish habitat in the corridor.”More than anything we want to see some action,” said lead consultant Nore Winter. “We want to see something happen.”Winter heads Winter and Company, a consultant group that has worked on river revitalization projects across the country. Dinsmore Sierra, RaceStudio and A. Plescia and Co. are working with Winter on the revitalization, and together they are drawing on these river projects from the country to gain ideas for the Truckee River.

While projects in Breckenridge, Telluride, and Silverthorne, Colo. are likely different from what the Truckee River project will include, there are important similarities, said Andy Plescia.”I think in each of these cases the communities have looked at the river as an asset and balanced the preservation of natural resources with development,” said Plescia.The town’s vision will likely be similar, with the goal of transforming the industrial-landen riverfront into a “civic spine,” where social and recreational uses are highlighted.The planning will move ahead quickly, with the next workshop scheduled for all day Saturday, Jan. 8 at the Cottonwood restaurant.


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