Workshop on Saturday for Nevada City’s pedestrian friendly town square

Join The City of Nevada City and the Future of Nevada County (FoNC) for a public workshop this Saturday, June 2, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., City Hall, 317 Broad St., to discuss and envision a downtown community gathering place.

City officials have identified two potential streets that satisfy needs for emergency vehicles and vehicular traffic; York Street and lower Commercial Street.

FoNC is hosting this public workshop to serve as a conduit between the public and city officials; ensuring opportunity for community members to provide feedback for the city’s upcoming beautification project in downtown Nevada City.

A facilitation method will be used to ensure that each individual has the opportunity to share their opinion in small groups so that, as a whole, community members, business and building owners alike can share concepts, concerns, and ideas for the city’s consideration.

A variety of features for a public space are available for the community to discuss and select such as wider sidewalks, shade trees, kid friendly space, local art, bicycle racks, and additional seating to name a few. This information will be gathered from the public workshop and a second workshop will follow in a month to share public feedback.

For those who can not make the public workshop or would simply like to share their ideas, an online survey is available for residents here ( and Nevada City merchants here ( The community is highly encouraged to give their feedback.

FoNC was born out of a void just over a year ago.  A new generation wanted to create a formalized space to come together and be empowered within their very own community. The group formed from a common desire to create a space where the topics close to their hearts could be discussed and followed up by meaningful action.

“FoNC members consist of young professionals, activists, educators, business owners, environmentalists, artists, and social justice advocates, along with their mentors,” stated FoNC member and Nevada City business owner Rachel Luck. “We discuss, explore, and act on issues about which we feel strongly: environmental sustainability, access to local government, diversity and inclusion, indigenous rights, affordable housing, economic development and jobs, and the cost of living. We are oriented towards and interested in addressing the root causes of these issues.”

FoNC members are highlighting in this public workshop the importance of the process itself. They believe that community input is key to the success of any project and feel that the process is the most important element in this community-building event.

—Reinette Senum

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

29 thoughts on “Workshop on Saturday for Nevada City’s pedestrian friendly town square”

  1. Good Morning Jeff,
    I am unable to find any reference of this group by Google Search. Do you know if there is a website ? Is this group, since it is a County wide group by the name, will be doing a survey in the other Communities in the County ? Or is this just a Nevada City project ???

    1. Hi Jeff,
      I fully understand the Arts Council and think very highly of their effort . The next article concerning the Survey is named ” Future of Nevada County ” . The article makes no mention of any connection to the Arts Council or the Cultural Districts.

      1. Hi Niel, Let me be more clear and elaborate: Here is the information on “Future of Nevada County”:,,
        The group is not officially tied to the Arts Council or Cultural District, but the groups have shared visions and goals that are interrelated. FONC has regularly promoted the Cultural District’s efforts: One example was the “Creative Placemaking” workshop held on May 21 at Miners Foundry.
        The FONC’s town hall project (led by McCamant & Durrett Architects) could be an arts and cultural hub. Another project involves promoting our cultural heritage, including the Nisenan: Again, those are shared goals. Hope this helps!

      2. Thank you Jeff. Google knew nothing about FoNC. Tweet had an item about 2 years old.

  2. Quick question for someone who might have the necessary insight:

    Is the plan to make either one block of York or Lower Commercial a permanent public square, or just for weekends and special days? I looked at the FB video and am not sure exactly what they have in mind. Thanks.

    1. Hi Steve,
      No decision has been made. That’s the point of the workshop and survey (which I just completed). Cheers,

  3. Jeff:

    Thanks — I appreciate it.

    York Street (originally New York Street) came about as a result of the 1880 fire that destroyed a large portion of that side of Broad Street, including the New York Hotel. After the fire, the street was created to provide better circulation for the fire department.

    Union Street was created for the same purpose.

    Guess circulation needs have changed a bit since hose carts and pump wagons were hauled around town by horses?

  4. Jeff,

    Just to clarify, FoNC’s Town Hall project was/is led by FoNC and not McCamant & Durrett Architects.

    1. Hi, Then please clarify their involvement. Are they going to be the town square’s architect or its this going to be bid in an RFP? They are listed on the town hall’s website page. Thanks.

  5. Ah, I see. Durrett and McCamant have mentored at times. The bid would have to go out in a RFP… this is required of course. I’ll make sure FoNC clarifies this on the website. Hope to see you at the workshop if you’re in town, Jeff.

    1. Mitchell has a volleyball scrimmage when the workshop is being held, but I filled out the online survey yesterday. Cheers,

  6. Niel, FoNC is an ad-hoc group of young adults and mentors. FoNC’s original objective was to better understand how local government works as well as establish a voice in local politics. This town square project (as well as a few others now) provides a vehicle in helping these young adults better understand how local government works while producing real world results.

    1. The name indicates this group is going to develop a County Wide endeavor , not only Nevada City, truth or fiction ?

  7. I went to the poll and it is so slanted and biased (example: you are required to check what elements you would like to see in a “pedestrian-friendly” street. None of the above is not a choice) that it is useless beyond reproach. It is a shallow pitch to allow City Council to say, “See, people “want” this or that. I am not filling out the form.

    1. Hi “NV City merchant,”
      First of all, don’t be such a coward, and sign your real name. Otherwise, your comment carries no credibility. Second, I filled out the survey and I totally disagree. For example, there was a choice about whether you wanted the street to be closed off — or not. That’s not “slanted or biased.” There also were blank spaces where you could elaborate — multiple times. You sound like someone who is afraid of change and hiding in the bushes crying “stop, stop.” Well step out from behind the bushes and identify yourself! I’m sure there will be a robust debate on this subject, including the funding. Don’t bother responding unless you want to sign your name. Thank you!

  8. I have a VERY vested interest in what happens to access to my business. The entire poll is couched in a “pedestrian friendly” cloud. Why not a “handicap unfriendly” or “vehicle unfriendly” format? Is that any more/less less biased? It is a force fed sales pitch. As a small business owner who has been beaten over the head by people who “know better” what people want (one of them who “knows better” how to run my business, couldn’t keep her doors open even eight months on the same street, while we’ve been around and made a profit for well over a decade), it has been made abundantly clear that the people who actually have had a long standing vested interest are being railroaded by a few with a “vision”. You are apparently among them. My name has been changed to protect the innocent.

    1. “Your name has been changed to protect the innocent” because you do not have the courage to stand behind an opinion.

  9. Dear Nevada City merchants, If the changes in Nevada City are uncomfortable for you, please consider relocating your business to Susanville, in beautiful Lassen Land. If you love nature more than a hustling, bustling city life you might consider the clean air, cheap housing and oodles of opportunity to grow your business in an historic frontier town.
    The town is growing it’s corporate base at the “bottom of town”, and things are looking up, but the uptown still has room and opportunity and the coolest old buildings, especially for eateries. First of all and STAT, they need a sushi bar up there! “Susan-villains” have to drive to Reno for it. There is little to no cuisine in Susanville unless you cook at home so most folks do. Lassen County has some stellar organic farms and ranches. It’s a food basket, so that doesn’t make sense, they should have good cafes too.
    Enterprising young folks are prospering and getting ahead in Susanville.
    The trade off? Not a lot of street closures or festivals, sidewalks and streets not as narrow and congested, not as many homeless folks, not as crowded, not as many cute shops, not as many good places to dine. Until you come and build them.
    Nevada City is sweet at times, but if it isn’t working out for you, check out on FB. It could change your life.

  10. Jeff, you would be surprised (as I was), but Susanville’s millennials want better dining and Sushi is high on their list. Sushiville!

    1. Well Jon, with the global warming trend, Susanville has much milder winters these days so there is a migration happening. A young cousin of mine has purchased, improved and is now renting several houses in town. (She’s in her thirties, married with little ones and not rich, just hard-working.) One of her young friends bought the old Doyle motors building last year. It’s in very good shape and about the size of the Alpha Building in Nevada City. But instead of two million dollar (plus fees), price tag, she got it for under 200 K, making it easy for her to develop.
      Lassen County’s historic nickname is, “The Land of the Never-Sweats”. Not that folks never worked hard up there back in the day, but their wages covered their families’ expenses and allowed them to save, no sweat.

      1. Sorry… my comment was regarding the union’s front page article. FTR I like to sweat…

  11. Jeff, it’s about the beautiful land and the real estate , not the poor desperate people who saw Trump as a savior.
    There are many good folks in that town you would be happy to, “break bread”, with. If there were any good bread to break up there. Anyone want to open a bakery in Susanville?
    I do too!

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