from the 1.9.13 edition
By Benjamin Fordham
2013 promises to be a year of big things for the City of Trinidad, relatively speaking. There are several projects on the horizon which look to beautify the city, enlighten its citizens, and protect local plants and wildlife, among other things.
The most exciting project is the brand new library set to open this year, a product of collaboration between the city, the county, civic groups, local non-profits, concerned citizens, and many other groups. The new building will provide a permanent home to the Trinidad Library and help spread the wonder of books. “It was an amazing coming together of people who believe in libraries,” said Mayor Julie Fulkerson.
There is also a new picnic area on the library grounds featuring covered gazebos, which will serve as a gathering place for Trinidad’s approximately 300 residents, as well as the thousands of tourists who visit the city every year.
Not quite as exciting as the library, but equally important, are the projects related to area water quality, including Luffenholtz Creek sediment reduction, storm water management, and inspection and updating of septic systems. These projects are “largely invisible, but very important for people and wildlife,” said Fulkerson.
The project residents will notice will be the septic system inspections, set to start this month. As Trinidad does not have a centralized water treatment facility, all city residents use septic tanks. Although most units are not expected to need work, the ones that don’t meet requirements will need to be upgraded. “We want to work with residents to accomplish legally required cleanups as painlessly as possible,” said Councilmember Kathy Bhardwaj. A brochure mailed to residents by the city states that “higher risk systems will be inspected and maintained on a more frequent basis in order to prevent failure or other problems rather than requiring immediate upgrades.”
The city also received a $2.5 million grant from the state which will contribute to the $10 million pier reconstruction project. The grant money will go towards water quality monitoring and water pollution prevention education on the new pier, which is open to the public.
All these efforts are intended to preserve the area’s unique ecosystem. As a Gateway Community for the California Coastal National Monument, Trinidad is charged with maintaining a high level of water quality. Trinidad is also designated as a State Area of Special Biological Significance by the California EPA, due to the presence of local sensitive areas such as coastal streams and kelp beds. Special regulations are in place to protect these areas, and the EPA calls the ASBS “basic building blocks for a sustainable, resilient coastal environment and economy.”
The city will also be replacing select street lights around town, repaving areas of Azalea Way and Pacific Ct., commissioning a Disability Access survey, reviewing and updating the fees it charges residents, and tackling numerous other projects in 2013. “We have a big responsibility,” said Fulkerson. “We realize the choices we make now will impact the future.”
“I’m proud, even astonished at what has been done,” says Bhardwaj. “Sometimes I think of Trinidad as the mouse that roared!”