Caltrans and the City of Rio Dell today mark the awarding of two grants totaling $2.5 million to beautify the entrance to the city and create a trail along the Eel River. The projects are made possible through Governor Gavin Newsom’s Clean California Initiative, a massive, multi-year, $1.1 billion cleanup effort led by Caltrans to eliminate waste, create thousands of jobs and inspire communities to transform often neglected public spaces.
“It will be gratifying for Caltrans to see the ideas, proposals and hard work of our partners at Rio Dell come to fruition with these Clean California grants,” said Matthew Brady, Caltrans District 1 Manager. “These two projects will beautify the area and provide excellent hiking opportunities for residents of the city and all its visitors.
The $2.3 million Eel River Trail project will develop a quarter-mile paved trail that connects the river to downtown and residential neighborhoods in Rio Dell. Significantly, the path will be an Americans with Disabilities Act compliant shared-use trail with trailheads and designated parking areas. Information booths along the trail will teach users about the area’s unique geology, fishing, Aboriginal history, logging history, and the importance of keeping the river clean and litter free.
The $198,000 Rio Dell Gateway Beautification Project will improve the northern segment of Wildwood Avenue – the city’s main street – which connects to Highway 101. The project will remove unhealthy trees and replace them with drought-tolerant, low-maintenance varieties to provide shade for those on foot or on bikes. In addition, the project will improve Memorial Park by installing accessible exercise equipment.
“These are truly transformative projects for Rio Dell,” said Rio Dell Mayor Debra Garnes. “They integrate environmental stewardship with creating pride in public spaces. I want to thank Governor Gavin Newsom, who I believe has a particular focus on the North Coast region and disadvantaged communities. It’s really proven
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The projects were recommended to Caltrans by the city’s Beautification, Walk and Pride Committee, which includes two members of city council and three members of the public, and whose goal is to provide ideas for projects that improve public spaces of Rio Dell.
“Both of these projects include educational benefits while helping to create a healthier Rio Dell,” said board member Amanda Carter, who is also a member of the committee. “This is a major achievement for our city and will be a great asset to the community.”
The projects are among 105 statewide Clean California Initiative projects funded by nearly $300 million in Clean California Local Assistance grants which Caltrans awarded in March to eliminate waste and transform public spaces in underserved communities. Previously, in February, Governor Newsom had authorized 126 Clean California beautification projects worth $312 million altogether, designed to transform often overlooked communities and create connectivity along the national road network. Together, these projects are expected to generate 7,200 jobs across California. Given their success, Governor Newsom’s California Blueprint is proposing an additional $100 million to fund a second round of Clean California Initiative local grant projects.
Since launching the Clean California initiative in July 2021, Caltrans has to date removed more than 730,000 cubic meters of waste from state highways – the equivalent of 12,000 tons or enough to fill 224 Olympic size swimming pools – and hired 723 new team members as part of Clean California, including 469 maintenance workers who pick up litter and remove graffiti. For more information, visit CleanCA.com.