Pleasant Hill keeps 'marching' along. The recent rainfall has made our hillsides awash with green, even in this drought year of 2014. St Patrick's Day beckons and some people will be donning the green.
It is also the month where you will likely see the start of some major city projects costing a total of $33 million. That's definitely a lot of green!
I am not sure the luck of the Irish has anything to do with this (though I am the grandson of Irish immigrants) but nearly 90 percent or more than $30 million of the project construction costs are being paid from regional, state and federal grants and not the city's general fund.
Other communities are surely green with envy at the resourcefulness of our city staff in identifying funding for important infrastructure improvements without negatively impacting our budget priorities or depleting our revenue.
Here are some of the improvements that are underway.
Geary Road enhancements
This $10 million project, in partnership with the city of Walnut Creek, will improve Geary Road from Putnam Boulevard to Pleasant Hill Road.
The improvements will include the construction of continuous left-turn lanes, a bike lane and new pedestrian sidewalks.
The redesign of the intersection of Geary and Pleasant Hill roads, which has already begun, will be completed with gateway monuments identifying Pleasant Hill boundaries (more on that below).
Enhancements for Contra Costa Boulevard
This more than $5 million project will dramatically improve the section of Contra Costa Boulevard from Viking Drive to Chilpancingo with the addition of new traffic signals, a bicycle lane, street resurfacing, median replacement and major landscape improvements.
Golf Club Road bridge replacement, roadway enhancements
The Golf Club Road bridge over Grayson Creek was constructed in 1953. In 2000, a Caltrans study identified the bridge as being structurally deficient and in need of replacement.
This $4+ million project will replace the bridge and improve the roadway.
This $12.7 million project will extend and realign the roadway south of the existing Crossroads Shopping Center intersection, ultimately creating a transportation corridor with increased capacity and circulation to meet the local and regional traffic demands along the corridor for the next 25 years.
The first phase of major work realigning Buskirk was completed in December 2013.
Phase II is on schedule to be completed by September 2014.
Citywide gateway enhancement project
Pleasant Hill's current gateway monuments lack the iconic and modern branding flavor that the city needs to implement and update its image.
The city's current gateway monuments -- the pagodas -- are in various states of disrepair and shrouded in overgrown landscape shrubbery.
The objective of this project is to enhance the overall appearance of the city, encourage new investment and increase sales tax revenue.
The city has reached out to design firms for design concepts and enhancements, city branding and way finding signage.
The city will also seek community input and consultation throughout the design process.
'If You Build It, They Will Come'
The month of March has also brought the return of baseball to Pleasant Hill. On March 8, the Pleasant Hill Baseball Association kicked off a new season with a parade under a beautiful blue sky.
More than 1,700 boys and girls, ages 4-18, along with their coaches, parents and umpires, marched from Sequoia Elementary School to the new sod of Pleasant Oaks Park, proudly displaying their team colors and their devotion to the sport.
The crowd of thousands celebrated opening day and sang the national anthem, applauded the people that make up the all-volunteer PHBA juggernaut and tossed their caps in the air as they dispersed to take up their positions on the fields across the city to the rally cry of "Play Ball!"
I was honored to throw out the ceremonial first pitch and pleased to see the ball sail the 60 feet right into the catcher's mitt. A strike for sure if the zone was about a foot wider ...
Timothy M. Flaherty is the mayor of Pleasant Hill. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.