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Park, albeit small, slated for Wheeler Ranch subdivision
An empty acre of weeds and dirt near the entrance to a Plumas Lake subdivision stands as a final reminder of the bust in local housing toward the end of the last decade.
Intended as a park in the Wheeler Ranch subdivision, the lot at Links Way and Plumas-Arboga Road instead became embroiled in controversy after Wheeler Ranch's builder went bust and homeowners cried foul when they paid for parks but never saw them come to fruition.
But with the Olivehurst Public Utility District having since won the deed to the property and opening two other, larger parks elsewhere in the neighborhood, the lot will instead get a slightly different treatment.
OPUD General Manager Tim Shaw said by next summer, an as-yet unnamed "park" will open on the lot, but with more resemblance to place to take a break than spend a few hours.
"It should be aesthetically pleasing," Shaw said in describing the park, which will have trees and benches but not the full grass and playgrounds seen in other recreation areas.
Doing so was by design, he said, when neighbors pointed out that the park's proximity to two busy streets made it less desirable as a place for youngsters to frolic.
Using plans developed by the architects for the other two parks in the neighborhood, OPUD will spend about $200,000 to build the last park within the next year.
Dennis Franceschi, a Wheeler Ranch resident since 2007, said he had wondered if anything would ever go in the empty lot.
"Nothing's being done, and people wondered what's going on," he said, adding the proposed park sounds fine.
Another neighbor, Ida Bisiaux, said she's skeptical about the concept.
"I just can't see the use of a rest area," said Bisiaux, 61. "It's not like people are traveling a long ways."
Since she moved to the neighborhood 18 months ago, she said, she's seen the other parks get plenty of use.
"Our kids play in 'em a lot."
CONTACT Ben van der Meer at email@example.com or 749-4786. Find him on Facebook at /ADbvandermeer or on Twitter at @ADbvandermeer.