Welcome to the latest update from Save West Cliff.
CITY COUNCIL MEETING MAY 23, 2023
It was great to see so many of our members at the City Council meeting on Tuesday. We particularly loved seeing students from Santa Cruz High School taking an interest in the future of West Cliff!
City staff provided an update on all aspects of cross-functional West Cliff project, which is being led by Assistant City Manager Laura Schmidt and now includes a team of 16 city staff members.
Nathan Nguyen shared a critical point in the Public Works Update. The cost to make these emergency repairs is around $17 million, and FEMA/FHWA funding is available at 100% for up to 270 days from the disaster (January 5, 2023). According to Nathan we have a deadline of September 23, 2023, to complete the repairs. If it takes longer, the City only gets reimbursed at the rate of 88.53%, meaning we would have to find about $2 million from the City’s general fund.
Transportation Manager Matt Starkey provided a detailed update on traffic, and Michael McCormick from Farallon Strategies outlined the roadmap process.
There is a lot of work and focus on West Cliff. Mayor Keeley said it was a top three priority in his discussions with Congressman Jimmy Panetta and State Senator John Laird.
For those of you who were unable to attend, we provided comments.
Al Ramadan at the Dias
You can view a recording of the meeting here.
At the conclusion of public comment, Councilmember Kalantari-Johnson moved a motion to:
- Receive the update on citywide West Cliff work, including infrastructure, transportation, and the development of a roadmap for a resilient and accessible West Cliff; and
- Initiate community review of the in-process roadmap to collect additional input and provide an updated draft of the 'A Resilient West Cliff, Accessible to All Roadmap' to city council by end of August 2023, that includes activation of projects listed in the 'Post Disaster Projects 0-3 years; and
- Through a multi-agency approach, utilize the policy concepts named in the dynamic coast section of the draft roadmap, including nature-based solutions, to develop the 'Beyond the Three Years' section to include a 50-year plan by end of 2023.
The Motion was unanimously adopted by City Council.
Vice Mayor Golder’s summary comments aligned with what many of us experienced at the meeting. Our entire community is anxious to get the repairs to the cliff, pedestrian pathway, and road completed before next winter’s storms arrive.
This sentiment is particularly important given the latest NOAA reports and scientists' warnings about a possible Super El Nino this winter. If we get more storms from the west, we will have significant impacts.
We must be prepared, and everyone is acutely aware of this risk.
BOOK: WEST CLIFF. BELOVED AND ICONIC.
We also published our book “West Cliff. Beloved and Iconic. A Visual Record” last week. It is now available at the Bookshop of Santa Cruz, the Surf Museum, and Steamer Lane Supply, with more outlets coming soon. The price is $97.50, with all proceeds to support West Cliff Restoration and Resilience.
Hilary and Renee with the Books
We provided 15 copies of the book to Vice Mayor Renee Golder, who distributed them to all the schools in Santa Cruz.
We have been encouraged by the interest from students in the history of West Cliff and our efforts.
“We are less concerned about the one-way, two-way debate than we are about the ‘no way’ situation,” he said. “No access is a disaster. If you think traffic in the neighborhood is bad now, wait until there’s no access.”
“We’re under a tight timeline,” said Nguyen. “If we can essentially get all of these repairs done by the middle of October there is a potential that we can get 100% reimbursement, but we are still waiting for (the Federal Highway Administration) to respond to our damage assessment forms. Again, we’ve had initial contact, we’ve submitted those forms, and now we are waiting for that process to continue to play out.”
We are making good progress in our mission to Save West Cliff:
- We have over 570 members.
- We like the August 2023 directive on emergency repairs from City Council. Repairs need to be completed by September 23 and this will be a vital check in on progress.
- We are excited to see the beginning of the 50-year planning process kick off and look forward to the upcoming June 6 and June 7 working sessions. More details to follow.
Thank you for everything you are doing, and please get involved in the 50-year planning process for our West Cliff Recreation Area.
Have a great holiday week!
Save West Cliff