Both really REALLY good stuff this week with some tougher elements worked in.
First the good stuff…………..
Now some of the tough stuff:
Thanks and have a great weekend.
A couple items:
· Mayor Wade Cowan and I met with the financing team for the Freeway Hotel Project this week. The group included two banks and a financier from North Carolina. Overall, they LOVED Winters and enjoy what the City is doing. A real good day.
· The Blue Mountain Terrace Apartment Project was the main topic of discussion on Monday morning. We looked at a variety of means for closing the financing gap, some value engineering for both the senior center and the apartments along with some timing issues related to various grants..
· The October 3 City Council Meeting will include an item centering on street projects for the spending of SB 1 gas tax funds.
· City Staff is getting a number of inquiries from people regarding scheduling events at the Downtown Hotel. We have contacted the developer regarding a contact for the marketing and reservations for the hotel.
· PG&E Grand Opening is on Wednesday, September 27. Lots of Winters participation, including Terry Sheets singing the national anthem and our VFW Post handling the flag ceremony. PG&E is looking forward to a huge attendance, then having the folks all come into Downtown for lunch. The event should be spectacular.
Winters High is playing against a top 10 opponent tonight in Christian Brothers from Sacramento. Go Warriors.
A couple items this week:
· The slab is 2/3 poured for the Downtown Hotel with the final pour scheduled for Monday. Good news and things are proceeding on this project.
· Winters Fire returned this week from a ten day deployment to fires throughout the State. They went to the Topaz near Tahoe and the Mission Fire near Fresno. Our staff works really hard on these incidents and does amazing things to help people. They represent our community really well where ever they go.
· The cabinet with the controller for the Grant/Main Traffic Signal is ready for pick up and we may see the signal working before the end of the month. This project has been a roller coaster going from behind schedule, significant delays to now way ahead of schedule. Good news!
· The draft report and recommendations from the consultant on the Downtown Parking Study is due next week. Staff is doing the final parking survey today and data will be to the consultant for the initial draft.
· The Wooden Playground at City Park is but a huge pile of lumber. We have preserved some elements of the structure for future re-use. Kudos to the Public Works crew for some really hard work. For a structure that was “falling down”, it was a tank to try and take apart.
· Project Playground is on their push for volunteers for the re-build October 10-15. They have 3 shifts each day from 7:30 am- Noon, 12-5 and 5-9 pm. To sign up, go here http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build
Have a nice weekend.
For a short week, lots happening:
· The Main/Grant Traffic Signal went from a major issue causing a huge delay to being a couple weeks ahead of schedule in about a day. Expect that the signal will be lit and operational by the end of September. Overall, good news.
· The City Park Playground is officially “closed” in preparation for the demolition and re-build. The party in the park was a huge success and a wonderful way for the playground to have its last hurrah of children playing. Look for the removal of the playground over the next two weeks in preparation for the new build.
· Project Playground is an all volunteer effort which needs people to sign up for the October 10-15 build. To sign up, go to
· They are also looking for some park captains for the week of the build. Please respond to this message or call Moyra Barsotti 530-392-6264. This is a critical part to the success of our build so please consider giving your time.
· Downtown Hotel is getting ready for the pour of the slab. I get to watch the entire project and I will tell you they are making progress. Look for the slab over the next week.
· Winters JUSD had a nice groundbreaking this week for the first building at Winters High School. A nice event prior to open house. The entire team at the District is working hard to improve the facilities at each of the school sites. The new building will house both science and culinary classrooms. It very exciting to see the progress being made.
· This is the first weekend of soccer!!!!
Finally a shout out and a plug for the work done by the past and now current folks involved with the construction of the City Playground. They truly represent what makes our community special and the deepest values which make Winters…..Winters.
At last nights “Party in the Park” we saw the reunion of many of the folks who organized and built the current structure back in 1989. These were folks (similar to Bobbie Greenwood and the town pool) who set a goal to build a very special playground to benefit the children of our community. They fundraised, organized, then designed and built a fabulous play structure. It is the definition of people coming together in a unified manner to do something of meaning. The result was something which has benefitted generations of children over the past 28 years!
I don’t dare try and name off all the folks who I know were involved (they know who they are) by I will tell you that they are some of the most generous and giving people I have ever met in my life. They have been deeply involved in the Winters Community in many facets and are the soul of why we have such an incredible place to live and raise our families. They put the town before self interest and invest their time and resources for something bigger than themselves. To say the community should be grateful to them is an understatement.
(I will share that the day before I interviewed to be the City Manager in Winters in 2001, my wife Kathy and I took our kids to the park and they thought it was the greatest playground they had ever seen. I read the plaque about the community coming together to build it and I was amazed. I remember asking our City Attorney John Wallace if the story was true and he told me that it represented what Winters is all about. John was right!)
The folks with Project Playground have taken on the huge task of replacing an iconic park through a similar process, having raised more than $400k, led a design process which professional planners would be challenged by and they are on the cusp of replicating a community effort which few can pull off, a second community build. Most communities just punt it to the city government to do because that is the easy way. Nope, not this group, they are digging deep and working harder to give the people of Winters a chance to do something bigger than themselves which will again, benefit the next few generations.
Project Playground is special and the build is an opportunity of a lifetime. This is a chance for you to come together with your neighbors, friends and future friends to build something for others. Take a couple days off work, come to the park and work side by side with others for the benefit of families and children. The result of your labor will not just be a structure, but more importantly, the joy and memories of childhood for thousands of kids and their families as they attack and climb until they are exhausted. They will go home tired with the goal of coming back the next day to do it all again.
The Project Playground team is that next generation who are perpetuating the values of Winters that great things for communities happen when the town works together on a common goal. This is your chance to not only help others, but a chance for you to do something for yourself by building something great.
Sign up, get your friends, neighbors and family to sign up. Make it a party!http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build
Have a nice weekend.
John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
I mentioned a very comprehensive update of the City, so here it is. I have covered all of our Departments and the various main projects occurring in town. We have a lot going on, so we have tried to hit the highlights and areas of interest.
In the coming weeks, I will be featuring specific departments for an in depth look at what is happening.
City Highlights memo for August, 2017
Key Projects Update:
City Manager’s Office:
Key Projects in the City Manager’s Office includes:
Housing and Economic Development:
Chief John Miller recently completed his first year as Winters Police Chief. Organizationally, the Department is as strong as ever, but is dealing with changes in personnel due to persons taking jobs with other agencies. Key highlights happening now include:
The Department is busy with preparation for the busiest time of the year, where the City transitions to preparation for winter, implementation of the lasts projects from summer and preparation for key maintenance of facilities. Key highlights happening now are:
OES – The State of California Office of Emergency Services (OES) provides a fire engine to the City for participation in the Statewide Master Mutual Aid Agreement. We have deployed “OES 333” to several fires outside of our county and provide one of the highest levels of all-risk emergency services in the nation. The members of Winters Fire Department staff the vehicle for up to 14 days during each deployment. Staff are currently on the Topaz Fire.
John W. Donlevy, Jr., City Manager
A couple important items this week:
· Construction on the Grant/Walnut Lane Roundabout begins this Monday. The good news is that closure of Grant will be postponed until the end of September. The contractor and engineering teams are working hard to limit closure by working beginning work on the south side and keeping lanes open. Overall, really good news!
· Project Playground and the re-build of the City Park Playground is inside 60 days to construction October 10-15. They need volunteers to being signing up now. Go to http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0c4fa5aa23a4f49-build to sign up.
· The Downtown Hotel foundation elements were poured this morning. The project is moving forward and they are hoping for a 2018 opening!
This has been an absolutely crazy week. Look for an expanded Friday Update next week.
WALNUT LN/ GRANT AVE ROUNDABOUT WORK TO BEGIN SOON
The City of Winters is constructing a roundabout at the intersection of Walnut Lane and Grant Avenue (SR 128). Vintage Paving Co. has been hired by Winters to serve as the project contractor. The work will commence on Monday, August 14, 2017.
To minimize the total contract duration and maximize the use of local, state and federal funds, the Contractor will close Grant Avenue (SR 128) to thru traffic during six one week periods of time. A detour will be posted to direct traffic via East Baker Street around the work zone. Local traffic will be allowed access to Walnut Lane during these detour closures. The detour closures will start on Monday at 8 am and continue thru Friday at 3 pm. Grant Avenue (SR 128) will be reopened to traffic beginning Friday at 3pm through the weekends. The schedule for the detour closures will be published as they are known.
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the individuals below:
City’s Resident Engineer, Michael Karoly, PE, (916) 960-6308 or email@example.com
Carol Scianna, Winters Environmental Services Manager (520) 794-6715 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note on new green waste services:
Residents please remember that the new Brown Lid Carts are for green waste and food waste only. It has come to our attention, that many of the green waste containers that were picked up from our residents recently were found to be contaminated with garbage, resulting in the load being 40% contaminated and thus rejected at the landfill for compost processing. The new carts are not to be used for garbage and residents who continue to put garbage into their green waste carts will be charged a contamination fee of $10.99 per incident.
Also, remember that street pick up for green waste is only on the Mondays shown by the white square on your WM calendars. It would be very helpful if you could coordinate putting debris out in your street piles a day or two prior to that pick up date rather than weeks prior, so that the material won’s be sitting out on the curb longer than necessary.
Thank you for your cooperation, if you have any question please contact: Carol Scianna 530-794-6715, email@example.com
· The Main/Grant Traffic Signal Project has been delayed for the past three weeks due to Caltrans delays (their engineering review and approval of a modification took 3 weeks) and a recent stoppage by the Caltrans Inspector. The project timing was supposed to have the improvements completed before the start of school. The route to school is absolutely a mess at the intersection and will require us to take measures to get children through. Expect delays in the morning through this intersection and find an alternate route if possible. We are working to find a solution and will be meeting with Caltrans Headquarters as soon as they will grant us an audience!
· Watch for a lot of weed abatement work along Grant Ave in the coming weeks. As the Grant/Timbercrest Signal Project comes to a close, we will prepare to get things cleaned up as PG&E prepares to open.
· Staff is working on a Pavement Condition Index (PCI) for the City streets. This involves rating the overall condition and folding the results into an overall maintenance program.
· On Tuesday, the State Water Resources Board conducted a public hearing and consideration of the elimination of the 10 parts per billion (ppb) limit on Chromium 6. The good news is the removed the new limit. The bad news is they authorized a re-set of the limit and for the Division of Drinking Water to begin working on it. The administrative law judge who has been overseeing the CR6 issue has mandated that they consider the economic impacts of implementation of a new standard. Hopefully that will be taken into consideration and they will give us a call on the impacts related to our community. The annual cost to rate payers is approximately $900m which would be removed from the economy at the 10ppb.
· I had a chance to speak before the Board and share the impacts on Winters. I will share that I prepped like I have never prepped for a presentation to cram a lot of information into a short period of time which is easy to understand and effective. I actually practiced as I drove through traffic on an effective delivery! I think they would have passed it even without my words of wisdom, but I felt good about having a chance to represent our community.
· Kudos to two staff members who really delivered big at the City Council Meeting the other evening:
· Carol Scianna our Environmental Services Manager worked with Kurt Balasak and the folks at Wallace Kuhl on the development of a preliminary storm drainage master plan to address and prevent pollution in our storm system. The plan is very well developed and is a foundational plan which will benefit the City dearly in the future. Protecting and developing the Winters environment is an important part of Carol’s position and she does an incredible job at it. This particular project relates to keeping Putah Creek clean of pollution and I would give her and the Wallace Kuhl team an A+.
· Shelley Gunby is our Director of Financial Management. She presented a Comprehensive Fee Update for Building, Planning, Public Works, Fire and Recreation fees. While nobody likes the City charging higher fees on anything, she took a very balanced and empirical approach to gaining needed reimbursement of City costs while protecting the consumer at the same time. Building Fees will see 7% increase, Planning Fees are charged at cost, Public Works and Fire see an 80% reimbursement and Recreation is mostly a low reimbursement item with the big increase being the pool swim cost from $1 to $2.
· Finance also addressed property tax liens for delinquent water/sewer and trash service bills. Our staff are not the reason for people not paying their bills, but they sure do take the brunt of the anxiety people bring when it comes to the liens. As with any business, the City expects people to pay their bills owed for services and I appreciate the staff for dealing with our customers in a professional and tactful manner even when some folks are not particularly kind.
· The Winters Theatre Company, Rotary, the Chamber of Commerce and others will be hosting a memorial for Howard Hupe this Sunday, August 6 at 4:30 at the Community Center.
Finally, the bounty of our harvest is really coming in now. I was out this morning getting some figs from my new neighbor Cole Ogando’s trees (Sierra and Kadota varieties) and I realize what heaven it is around here to have some of the most delicious food amongst us. Here are some of my hot picks on where to get the bounty:
· K&J Fruit Stand (Gaddini Road)- Fresh stone fruits, dried, multiple varieties of melons, honey, preserves and heirloom tomatoes, garlic and limes. My favorite is the 4/$1 corn which you can eat raw but get there early before it is gone.
· Warrens OMRF (Old Mans Retirement Fund) on Russell Blvd just east of El Rio Villa. Stone fruits and fresh tomatoes. Seriously, you will re-consider the hassle of your own garden with these tomatoes!
· Road 31- Covell/Road 98 Fruit Stand in Davis- Typically I would not recommend leaving the greater Winters area, but this is worth it. Drive on about a quarter mile east of Rd 98 and it is on the right hand side (if they flag is up they are open). Four cewheel across and ditch and up a dirt driveway. Your food of choice in one item Strawberries!! They grow multiple varieties throughout the year and they are incredible. Buy a full flat, eat a ton and freeze the rest!
· Capay Valley– Take a drive to Cache Creek and stop at the variety of farm stands along Highway 16. Just past the casino in Guinda is a farm stand. The growers in Capay are some of the highest quality and innovative anywhere.
· Manas Ranch– Highway 16 in Esparto- Fresh pork and lamb are the items. If they have sausage, get that!
Have a nice weekend!