Paradise residents, many determined to return home, gathered at the Paradise Alliance Church Tuesday evening, where they weighed in on the Camp Fire recovery plans.
The top of the community’s wish list---as compiled by consultants---includes safer streets, more commerce, underground electric power lines, new parks, a downtown that’s easier to navigate on foot and a better evacuation plan.
Megan O’Hara is a principal at Urban Design Associates, the Pittsburgh-based firm compiling residents’ ideas that officials say will guide reconstruction. She said more than a thousand people took the company’s survey.
“We thought this was probably the most exciting question. Are you planning to come back? Fifty-one percent, yes and another 15 percent interested.” O’Hara said.
Paradise Town Councilman Steve Crowder said the complaint he hears the most, concerns the pace.
“It’s been five plus months, I want to come home as bad as anybody else. It’s not moving fast enough for me, but, you got to be real about it too.” Crowder said.
After a chaotic escape, it’s unsurprising that evacuation routes crowned the needs improvement category.
Despite being named a top concern, Magalia resident Jeudie Lovell wondered aloud if the narrow stretch of Skyway at Magalia reservoir will be addressed.
“The evacuation route is only over the dam. One broken down car and you’ve got a real mess.” Lovell said.
Tuesday was an opportunity for the public to check UDA’s work assure there were no big holes. Further revised plans will be unveiled at meetings Thursday, one starting at four in the afternoon, the other at seven in the evening.
Both will be held at the Paradise Alliance Church and both will cover the same material.
Paradise and UDA have built a website with information about the process and ways to add your voice. You can find it on line at www.makeitparadise.org