My Turn: Kings Beach: The future looks bright | SierraSun.com

My Turn: Kings Beach: The future looks bright

Ken Grehm

After years of work, the Kings Beach Commercial Core Improvement Project’s environmental documents have finally hit the streets. What that means is that the 1,800-page draft report is now available for public review and discussion during a 60-day comment period. Comments are due back by May 24.

A series of public workshops will be held on the North Shore where interested parties can learn more about the alternatives, get their questions answered and offer comments. This particular document is unusual in that it offers three distinct alternatives for construction, in addition to a no-build alternative.

We brought forward three alternatives because we felt the Kings Beach project is critically important for the community. We also see this as an opportunity for collaboration where the community can decide what it likes best and then that alternative can be recommended by the community to the board of supervisors.

The goals of this project are four-fold: improving water quality, improving aesthetics, and increasing both pedestrian and bicycle mobility. Water quality improvements will be concentrated along the highway and within the roadway immediately adjacent to the highway. Whichever build option moves forward will improve aesthetics through roadway and sidewalk reconstruction. The last two improvements will come from constructing sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes.

Although there are four possible choices addressed in the documents for the 1.1-mile strip of Highway 28 that runs through Kings Beach, I will briefly address three, as the fourth is a no-build alternative. Basically, what we have are two choices. There are two three-lane alternatives with roundabouts used as traffic-slowing devices: One has seasonal on-street parking while the other does not. The other choice has two lanes in each direction with traffic signals to regulate traffic.

The space I have here is far too small to go into much detail about the various choices. My purpose is to let the community know that we have released the documents and have scheduled workshops for community input. I would encourage everyone who has an interest in both the community and the future look and feel of Kings Beach ” property owners, business owners, residents and visitors alike ” to examine the available information either online or at various locations around the North Shore. I would also encourage interested parties to attend one or more of the workshops to be held on the North Shore.

What is important now is that there is ample opportunity to obtain information on the alternatives and that the local community has a chance to offer comment. These comments will be incorporated into a final environmental report, which will then be presented to the board of supervisors. We hope this process will develop a consensus among the interested parties and that an alternative emerges as the community’s preferred choice.

There are pros and cons to each of the alternative. I want to emphasize that there is no “correct” or “incorrect” choice. What this process will ultimately come down to is: Which alternative will implement the community’s vision for Kings Beach?

The exact figure for the cost of building any of the alternatives will be well in excess of $30 million. Currently, the county has secured more than $23 million and is pursuing another $8 million. By the time construction begins, we fully expect to have enough funding to cover the cost of the entire project. All the project partners are working hard to secure the remaining funding needed prior to the start of construction.