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Decision Time Ahead For Tuolumne County Community Resilience Centers

Sonora, CA — Tuolumne County is hoping to build two resilience centers with $19-million in federal grant money that is being awarded to the region following the Rim Fire.

As reported earlier, the county had requested $55-million in resiliency grant dollars to build community centers in both Groveland and Tuolumne, but only $19-million was awarded. Instead of only constructing a single facility, the county pitched the state agency overseeing the funding to allow for two scaled down, roughly 8,000 square ft. facilities.

The one in Tuolumne would be situated on land owned by the Tuolumne Band of Me Wuk Indians at the corner of Bay Street and Cherry Loop Boulevard, near the county’s pool and youth center. The Tribe would be an official partner in the effort. The center would be geared toward providing services to the youth, expanding economic development, education, and serving as a shelter or gathering space during an emergency. Paying customers hoping to utilize space at the site would include Columbia College, ATCAA, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools, Health and Human Services and the Sheriff’s Office Community Service’s Unit. While the building would be the same size as Groveland, the parking area would be larger. This is partly to allow for future economic development ventures being looked at for the surrounding property by the Tribe, and also to allow for plenty of parking for emergency equipment during a fire or other type of disaster.

The Groveland Community Resilience Center would be in partnership with the Groveland Community Services District and be situated near the district’s office on Ferretti Road. It would focus less on youth services, and more on senior activities. Differentiating itself from Tuolumne, it would include a small outside amphitheater and walking path. In addition, there would be large areas set aside for things like staging, parking of equipment, holding of evacuated animals, and tent camping for emergency officials. In addition to some of the same paying customers as Tuolumne, like Columbia College, ATCAA, and Health and Human Services, there would be a partnership with the group Southside Seniors who would run programs like meals.

The two plans were put together by Tuolumne County leaders following earlier input received by community residents.

Deputy Tuolumne County Administrator Maureen Frank says, “Even though the buildings look alike, they have two very different purposes suited just for the community.”

Around 30 residents came out to hear about the plans last week at a town hall style event in Tuolumne. State officials were also on hand to hear the feedback and to see the site. State leaders will also be at the second and final meeting coming up this Wednesday at 6pm at the Groveland Community Hall, and Frank is encouraging everyone interested to come out. The state is planning to let the county know late next month whether it will approve two sites instead of just one, as various items are being reviewed. Depending on the state’s decision, the county supervisors will then decide how, or if, to proceed forward.