By Bruce McPherson, Supervisor, Fifth District
After nearly 14 months of restrictions on people gathering due to COVID-19, I am so glad to see in-person events start to happen again in the Fifth District as we head into nicer weather.
We have done a terrific job in Santa Cruz County getting the vaccine and keeping our case counts low. Now it seems appropriate to reward ourselves a little by getting out and having some fun together as a community — with safety measures in place, of course. Let’s start with this weekend.
Tandy Beal & Company will present Sunshine Becker and Matt Hartle for a “fun and grateful-driven rock and soul” show at four locations on Saturday, May 1. The duo will be at Felton Library (11:15 a.m.), Scotts Valley Library (12:15 p.m.), Garrahan Park in Boulder Creek (2 p.m.) and back in Felton at Covered Bridge Park (3:30 p.m.) A big thanks go to Tandy, a Fifth District resident, and these wonderful musicians for the springtime serenade.
The following weekend, I am excited about the May 8 Art Hike for Healing event at the Felton Library and Discovery Park. Organized by the Santa Cruz County Long Term Recovery Group, Friends of Santa Cruz County Parks and Felton Library Friends, the event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will feature a walk-through of a new outdoor art installation by photographer Devi Pride. There will also be a storybook walk, nature sketchbook and other resources for survivors of the CZU Lightning Complex Fire.
Speaking of fire recovery resources, every Saturday from 2-5 p.m., the Boulder Creek Recreation District continues to host its Community Relief event at the Bear Creek Community Center. Rebuilding permit and environmental health staff join United Policyholders representatives and others to answer questions, including about what will be one of the most complicated topics for our survivors — septic systems. The County also has organized two upcoming webinars on septic and water-permitting issues for property owners (10-11:30 a.m. May 1) and for professionals working on rebuilding projects (9-10:30 a.m. May 4.) Visit the Office of Response Recovery and Resiliency site at www.co.santa-cruz.ca.us/OR3.aspx for links to the webinar and a list of other resource events.
Lastly on the topic of events, the summer is already starting to take shape. The Scotts Valley Chamber of Commerce will host the Art, Wine & Beer Festival on August 21 and 22 in a new location, Siltanen Park on Vine Hill Road. This is one of the Fifth District’s most anticipated events each year — also always one of the warmest! — and I’m glad to see it come back. Find out more at svartfestival.com.
While events are fun, seeing everyday life open up a bit more is also exciting. Sticking with Scotts Valley, the city is working on two important COVID recovery initiatives — restoring its recreation offerings and launching an economic development program.
In partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Santa Cruz County, the city hopes to expand summer camp and restore staff lost in the pandemic. Funded by Community Development Block Grants, the city is also looking at providing grants up to $10,000 to eligible Scotts Valley businesses to assist with COVID relief and job retention.
Meanwhile, the County Board of Supervisors is looking to set aside about $1 million in direct COVID relief for the community, including potentially about $700,000 for apprenticeship programs as well as support for women- and minority-owned businesses, and cultural institutions. We will discuss this further at our May 11 regular meeting.
Speaking of our institutions, we have two exciting library renovation projects in the Fifth District. On the heels of building the beautiful Felton Branch Library, the Santa Cruz Public Libraries system is renovating the Boulder Creek Branch, with completion expected in mid-June. Also, plans are being finalized for renovation of the Scotts Valley Branch to begin later this year. Both projects will greatly increase the user experience at these community branches.
Whether its fire recovery or pandemic recovery, I always appreciate hearing the community’s ideas on how we can support you. District 5 residents can send any comments or questions to me at [email protected] or 831-454-2200.