PIEDMONT -- Boy Scout Cole Becker's proposal to build a wooden bridge in Dracena Park has hit a snag, but the plan still looks promising.

Parks manager Mark Feldkamp told the Parks Commission Aug. 7 that city planners are checking if the project needs an environmental impact report or a negative declaration of same.

"If CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act) were necessary, it would tie things up for months," Feldkamp said.

The good news is that private donations of about $50,000 are pledged, which will adequately cover the project cost.

Becker is proposing, for his Eagle Scout project, that a rustic footbridge be built in Dracena Park near where an old bridge was dismantled years ago. The bridge would be 65 feet long and 5 feet wide, made of redwood or cedar. It would have wooden rails with a black powder coat grid for safety at 42 inches high, said Cole's father, designer Mark Becker.

Feldkamp said the city will move ahead with tree planting in the park, likely redwood saplings "to make it look like a natural grove," in preparation for the bridge site.

The Beckers were on vacation and unavailable to speak to commissioners Aug. 7.


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In other news, commissioners are now planning for a block party-type event in late September or early October for the ceremonial lighting and celebration of the refurbishment of Piedmont's historic pillar at the junction of Grand and lower Grand avenues.

The project is not only for aesthetics but for safety, commissioner Patty Siskind said. Errant drivers have careened around the pillar knocking down trees and shrubs at the confusing junction. The area has sustained 30 accidents the past 10 years.

City Council liaison Jeff Wieler heartily supported the project, saying the area should also be evaluated as part of the city's bicycle and pedestrian safety plan now in progress.

Demolition has begun on the Ramona-Ronada triangle project with concrete and stone work expected to be done this week. The improvements were a private-public partnership and will include plantings of trees and shrubs and a safer intersection.

Landscaper/commissioner Nancy Kent noted that all the impatiens planted in public places had to be removed because the flowers are infected with downy mildew. Growers are advising the flowers not be used for at least two years; other species will be planted in their place.

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