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November 30, 2022

Rail Trail design price more than doubles | Consent Agenda

WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville City Council on Tuesday approved an additional $207,445 charge from Harris & Associates, Inc. for design services on the Rail Trail Lee Road to Walker Street Project.

In total, the city will now pay the Concord-based company $329,110 to design its stretch of the 32-mile corridor that will run from the southern to the northern tip of Santa Cruz County. 

The additional funding is needed because the project was broken into two phases in order to retain grant funding for the first phase, which will begin construction soon. The design for the second phase, which still needs to secure permits from the California Public Utilities Commission to install new crossings on the railroad tracks, is expected to be completed by 2022.

The new charge will be paid with gas tax funds ($57,445) and Measure D-Rail Trail funds from the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission ($150,000).

Other items approved from the council’s consent agenda:

City to sell 101 Main St. to PG&E

The council allowed City Manager Matt Huffaker to negotiate and execute the sale of the 6,055-square-foot, city-owned property at 101 Main St. to Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E).

PG&E has offered the city $182,000 for the property, which is currently vacant and is sometimes used as overflow parking for community events at Muzzio Park.

The company would use the property as a receiver station where it could assess the integrity of the gas main without taking the system out of operation.

According to city staff, the stations are secured by a fence around the gas pipe area and are monitored closely for safety reasons. PG&E would not be able to share the use of the property, but it has agreed to secure the perimeter of the property with an enhanced fence/wall that allows for landscaping or public art display opportunities.

City, REACH reach deal for airport lease

The council approved a 53-month lease with REACH Air Medical Services, LLC for the city-owned property at 170 Aviation Way.

The approval followed the termination of an existing lease with Hoversurf, Inc.

REACH, a division of CALSTAR, will pay $4,079.45 per month for rent, a number that will adjust each year to keep pace with the Consumer Price Index.

Regional Water Management Prop 1 Grant

The council directed Huffaker to apply for a $515,000 grant from the Department of Water Resources (DWR) Proposition 1 Pájaro Integrated Regional Water Management program.

The grant will be used for the Upper Struve Slough Watershed Enhancement and Public Access Project that has been in development for roughly five years.

The project plans to do the following:

• Create features to capture urban runoff and redirect it to retention ponds or bioswales.

• Improve measures against flooding within adjacent residential areas, road and other properties.

• Stabilize the eroding slough bank.

• Remove invasive trees and restore native wetland and riparian habitat.

• Create a pedestrian and cyclist trail along the slough.

Science Workshop receives grant

The council accepted a $75,000 grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation for the city’s Environmental Science Workshop’s After School Motor Toys Program. 

The program serves roughly 125 middle school students per week at five schools. Between the grant and a $30,000 per year contract with the Pajaro Valley Unified School District, the program is completely self-funded.

Mobile Science workshop gets grant

The council also accepted a $25,000 grant from the Physics Factory to support the city’s Environmental Mobile Science Workshop, which serves about 2,800 students per year at six sites throughout the Pajaro Valley.

The Mobile Science Workshop is completely grant-funded, with some of its funding coming from the Monterey Peninsula Foundation and the Santa Cruz County Community Foundation.


These items were part of the Watsonville City Council’s consent agenda. The consent portion of a meeting agenda contains items that are expected to pass without discussion by the agency in question. Board members and members of the public may pull any of the items for discussion during meetings. For details on any of these items visit

Tony Nuñez
Good Times News Editor Tony Nuñez is a longtime member of the Watsonville community who served as Sports Editor of The Pajaronian for five years and three years as Managing Editor. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College and San Jose State University alumnus, he covers the city, business, housing, entertainment and more.


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