A pedestrian path near the Ramona library envisaged as a springboard for the green way

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Santa Maria Creek Greenway developers see the potential for a walking trail near the Ramona Library as they continue to work on larger plans for a multi-use trail that runs from Wellfield Park to the Ramona Grasslands Preserve.

During a Zoom meeting on June 16, half a dozen attendees discussed opportunities to use the acquisition of the Russell property near the Ramona Library as the starting point for an American law journey. disabled people in the area.

Participants noted that the former County Trails Program Coordinator, Meg Diss, had been working on the concept of a preliminary trail until early 2020. Diss was replaced by Eira Whitty, Acquisitions Manager for the department. of County Parks and Recreation, which announced last July that a key link to the Greenway Trail – the Russell property – has been acquired by the county.

The 7.8 acre parcel is located between 12th and 13th Streets behind the Ramona Library. In addition to its potential for trail use, the property is seen as the future home of a Ramona Intergenerational Community Campus, or RICC, which would eventually include a senior center, amphitheater, skate park and other amenities.

Just a few months ago, Lizzy Bendrick, the new director of the County Parks and Recreation Department’s Trails Program, joined the group and was named as the final liaison for the Santa Maria Creek Greenway project.

Greenway’s attorney, Ed Spaeth, said it was an opportunity for Bendrick to take back the reins from his predecessors and move forward in creating a versatile trail for hikers, joggers, riders and beyond. from this a trail for the disabled near the library using part of the Russell Property.

Greenway supporters John Degenfelder and Don Wendt, along with County Ranger Alicia Watkins, took Bendrick by car on June 14 around parts of what could be a future greenway. They showed him the Santa Maria Creek staging area off Montecito Road, Nickel Creek Townhomes and where the trail could lead into the northern part of Wellfield Park.

“She was impressed with the rural area and the many horses that were around the community,” said Degenfelder. “She seems to want to be involved in what we’re doing. I’m glad she’s interested in this.

Bendrick said that during the tour she learned about the history of the Santa Maria Creek Greenway and the promoters’ collaboration with the Ramona Trails Association.

“I have a better idea of ​​the scope of the project and how it really is a collective effort involving multiple jurisdictions and community members,” she said via email. “It’s a beautiful sight.

“This is one of the many projects that the County Parks and Recreation Department is invested in, and each time I am able to step foot in the field, I gain a better understanding of the work that needs to be done. “

On Tuesday, June 29, the county supervisory board will consider adopting a county-wide budget for 2021-2022 that proposes to spend $ 10.55 million on the capital program for planning and development. trails. Proposed trail projects in the area include the Boulder Oaks Preserve Trails and Improvements, Otay Valley Regional Park Heritage Staging and Zone A Trails, Sage Hill Staging Area and trail system improvements, Sweetwater loop trail segments and the Sycuan Kumeyaay Dehesa Road / Sloane Canyon Village Road Trail.

The green lane was initially to be included in the 2021-2022 budget but was moved to the 2025-2026 budget, where $ 1 million was identified for the project. Planning efforts are still ongoing, including identifying homeowners interested in securing easements and efforts to seek grant funds for the project, according to county staff.

“All of the investment projects, including this project, were assessed as part of the overall funding assessment that took place in relation to the county’s COVID-19 response,” county staff said. “Funding for this project, and many other projects, has been postponed due to other priorities.”

In addition to working with the county to move their plans forward, Greenway advocates continue to develop a tri-fold brochure to highlight the benefits of a non-motorized trail. Degenfelder said the brochure will play a key role in gathering support for the greenway so that it can eventually be built and used.

They shared ideas for distributing the brochure to maximize its reach in the community, possibly including by posting it on the county website and on the Santa Maria Creek Greenway Facebook page.

Barbara Hughes, a member of the Ramona Trails Association, who is also a member of Lakeside Frontier Riders, said she could distribute the brochure to members of the horse club.

For now, the text and images of the brochure are in the hands of Dana Gemmingen, resident of Ramona, board member of the Ramona Trails Association who volunteered to assemble the brochure.

The brochure could be used to answer questions about the project and give people an idea of ​​how the greenway would connect people to the natural beauty of Ramona and the city itself, Gemmingen said.

Gemmingen hopes to have a draft of the brochure prepared by the next Green Lane meeting, scheduled for July 21 at 2 p.m., at the Ramona Community Center, 434 Aqua Lane.


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