Downtown trash enclosure location approved

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City council members voted to approve the location of a proposed downtown trash enclosure, a collaborative project between downtown businesses and property owners and the City of Winters at the council meeting on Tuesday, June 4.

Though design and funding are yet to be decided, approval of the location in the parking lot on First Street across from City Hall allows for the project to move into its next phase, where it will ultimately have to be approved by the planning commission. The enclosure will take replace four parking spaces, and the design will likely include beautification measures like a lattice with vines.

“It doesn’t get more small town than this,” City Manager John Donlevy said before delivering his report on the project.

The enclosure will replace four parking spaces, and the design will likely include beautification measures like a lattice with vines.

The item was pulled from the agenda ahead of the May 28 City Council meeting due to lack of a cohesive concept, but a meeting between City staff and downtown merchants May 28 seemed to get consensus.

Donlevy said positives of the project location include its equal distance between businesses, cost effectiveness and creating a gateway into the Newt’s Expressway Alley to improve walkability and aesthetics downtown.

Mayor Pro-tempore Wade Cowan said the consensus reached by downtown merchants and the City last week motivated him to support the location.

“I was really glad to see as many of the businesses represented as there was [at the May 29 meeting]. We had just about everybody that’s going to be contributing to this trash enclosure there, and we had a lot of good comments, a lot of good discussion,” Cowan said.

“I’m glad they all came to agreement and as far as I can tell it was a unanimous vote for where they ended up deciding to put it and I’m really glad to see this thing moving forward.”

Mayor Bill Biasi said, “When that location was first proposed I was not in favor of it. It’s directly across the street from City Hall’s front door, but I will go ahead and support it because the businesses all support it—they think that’s the right place for it. It works for everybody so I’m okay with it going there if everybody in the business community can come together with their design and how they’re going to pay for it.”

Council Member Jesse Loren agreed that the consensus is promising, even though she’s had reservations about the project.

“I’m not thrilled about the location, but I’m thrilled about people coming to consensus,” Loren said.

The project has caused some controversy, with council members and citizens raising concerns about the enclosure being an eye sore.

“Is it really going to be painted orange like we’ve heard?” member of the public Karen May asked.

Other concerns raised include smell, loss of parking spaces, whether the City will be compensated for any costs and perceived lack of transparency on the part of the council in pulling the agenda item and holding the May 29 meeting in private.

“Basically the city is giving the merchants a sweet deal to kick their garbage down the street at the expense of the citizens of Winters,” a citizen told the Express. “These dumpsters will be visible to everyone along First Street!”

Concerns including design and funding will be addressed in as the project moves forward with the location approved.

The council approved the location without objection.


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