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The Buckhorn

Copyright (c) 2010
Winters Express
312 Railroad Avenue, Winters, CA 95694
(530) 795-4551
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Is it busy around here, or is it just me?

I took most of Sunday off to just relax, but then I was reminded that we had dinner guests coming over that evening. I turned off the 49er game, which wasn’t hard to do and got out of Sherri’s way until the guests arrived.
Between Winters’ events and trying to spend time with the grandkids, days off are becoming hard to find. When you hear someone say that there isn’t anything to do, they are not looking at the calendar in the Winters Express. The Chamber, service clubs and merchants are doing a great job of keeping the downtown hopping.
Fourth Fridays has become a big event and last week it was followed by The Carnitas Festival at Rotary Park. When my permanent tenant and I head for downtown, we have started parking at a friend’s house on First Street and walking the rest of the way. If events keep expanding we’ll have to start walking from our house, which wouldn’t be a bad idea, every day.
There have been suggestions that to solve our looming parking problem we should all just walk to our downtown. That might be a great idea if only Winters people visited our downtown, but believe it or not, people from out of town like to come to Winters. Looking at the Carnitas Festival, most of the people attending live farther away than they can walk. Poke your head into the Buckhorn on a Saturday night and count the people you recognize from Winters. Sure the bar area has a few locals in it, but the rest of the restaurant?
As I was sitting on the gazebo steps, eating a plate full of great carnitas, the subject of parking came up. “There is a suggestion that we use some of Rotary Park for additional downtown parking, because it is never used,” someone commented with a smirk. Looking out at the large crowd made me smile. We need additional parking but it shouldn’t be at the expense of the Community Center or Rotary Park.
I’m still waiting for the parking committee to come up with their recommendations to the city council. I’m hoping they come up with workable solutions and their report doesn’t get put into the circular file. Our perceived parking problem used to be kind of funny, but not anymore. It still amazes me how far our downtown has come over the past 30 years or so. We’ve gone from being able to fire a cannon down Main Street on a Saturday night to where you can’t find a parking place within a block of the place. It is kind of like the line, if a tree falls in the forest... In the past would anyone have heard the cannon?
There is a proposal to build a commercial project on the existing city parking lot on Railroad Avenue. I’m not hearing a lot of opposition from the folks at City Hall and that bothers me, a lot. I can almost see giving the hotel a free pass on parking, but even the planning commission admitted that they were only kicking the can down the street by not addressing long term parking solutions when they okayed the hotel.
With PG&E on the horizon and the hotel still moving forward, parking will become a big deal, even if some people think that having to walk three or four blocks to the downtown is a good thing. I have news for you, people won’t walk three or four blocks to shop at the hardware store or eat at the café. When someone suggests, “let’s go to Winters,” there will be someone who suggests another place to spend their money where there is ample parking within a block or two of their destination.
See you at the next car show. If you have an old car you can park on Main Street, just watch out for cannons.
Have a good week.