It’s our heart we’re talking about | SierraSun.com

It’s our heart we’re talking about

Jamie Bate
Editor's Notebook

More than Gray’s Crossing, Old Greenwood or any of the other developments built in or planned for Truckee, Holliday Development’s future project at the downtown railyard will be the most significant.

Like other developments that create more homes for more people and add more buildings to our town, the railyard project will do the same ” but directly in the heart of Truckee. What essentially will happen ” and it will happen ” is an entirely new “mini” town at the core ” both figuratively and literally ” of our community.

Think about it. How many historic towns have an opportunity to move into the new millennium and create something entirely from scratch, to be forward-thinking yet cognizant of the past ” all without having to tear down parts of their heritage to do so?

Of course there are a raft of potential pitfalls ” marginalizing Commercial Row, creating a faux Dodge City or Zermatt or just trying to force a square peg into a round hole. It could be just another bunch of soulless buildings that bring neither pride nor pleasure.

On the other hand, the project could be a banner for smart growth for the whole of California; commerce cohabitating with homes, all surrounded by a good vibe.

While they may not be identical to what’s going on at the railyard, there are projects out there to study that incorporate the essential tenets of smart growth. Check out the existing Doe Mill development in Chico, http://www.newurbanbuilders.com/doemill/, and the proposed Loma Rica project down the road in Grass Valley, http://www.opticosdesign.com/projects/ud_lomarica_1.html. They may not be perfect, but they do offer some interesting ideas.

That’s were we ” everyone in Truckee ” come in. There have already been scoping sessions on the railyard proposal, and there will be more. That’s the place to add your input. Be outspoken, be passionate, be frank. After all, it is our heart we’re talking about.

Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at jbate@sierrasun.com.