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With acres of beautiful wildernesses braided throughout the city limits, Portola staff and the City Council are searching for ways to have those areas benefit the community.
As a result, The West Entrance Park, located on the Feather River at the entrance of the city, just west of Veterans Memorial Hall, may have a makeover soon because of a possible grant awarded to the city.
City Planner Karen Downs introduced a grant opportunity to the council members at their meeting Aug 28.
The grant is a trail program grant, and it funds trail installations and nature walks. If the city receives the grant it will be awarded 50 percent of the project cost, leaving the city responsible for the other 50 percent.
According to Downs, the total project cost is expected to be $80,000 to $100,000. Though the city would have to come up with the other half, city manager Ian Kaiser said the grant would allow volunteer and in-kind labor to make up the difference.
Though the area would only be able to provide a small trail of less than 500 feet, the park would offer a scenic natural experience for Portola visitors and residents.
The project would include a parking lot, a trail and a picnic area, all in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
It would have temporary bathrooms; because the park rests on a flood plain so a permanent structure wouldn’t be effective for the city. There would be plaques identifying the entrance, Native American resources, and also commemorating the Railroad Museum.
Downs said one of the requirements of the grant is to grow native vegetation in the area. She also said local Native Americans pointed out many plants that were once used by the Indians in the area. Thus, she said the trail could be designed as a historical depiction of Native American culture, with plaques identifying plants and their uses to the local tribes.
The park would have easy access to the river, and council member Michelle Gault said it was one of her favorite places to fish.
The application for the grant is due Oct. 1, but Downs said public input is vital for the city to be seriously considered for the grant.
The city will hold a public meeting on the matter on Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Members of the public are encouraged to attend and offer their views.
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