National Public Works Week is from May 21 to 27, so let’s take a look at what Public Works does here in Scotts Valley. We have around 20 staff members in Public Works who take care of wastewater, streets, parks, engineering and recreation services.
Did you know that 1.5 million gallons of soiled water normally passes through our wastewater treatment plant every day? When it was raining this winter, the system topped out at 3 million gallons per day. During the first big storm on New Year’s Eve, staff camped out on cots all night to make sure it didn’t spill. These workers are dedicated! They also maintain 40 miles of collection pipes and eight pump stations that bring all your waste to the plant.
After the water is treated, over 60 million gallons of recycled water is produced each year for our parks, and the rest flows through 6 miles of pipes to the bay. Along the way, some water is diverted at the Pasatiempo Golf Course. Pressed solid material is hauled off to the Marina Peninsula Landfill every day.
The plant was last updated in the 1990s. The city must undertake $10 million in critical upgrades in the next five years, including $3 million next year.
The city maintains 72 lane miles of public streets, but most streets in Scotts Valley are privately maintained. We also have 276 drainage inlets and 111 manholes to keep in working order.
Our five-member maintenance crew is busy filling potholes from winter storms, and many ongoing repairs are needed. We have $4 million in street projects in the pipeline from before the winter storms. To help prioritize repairs, the city reassessed the conditions of all streets. On a scale of 0-100, our average street rating is 60, similar to other California cities.
Currently the city is focused on Bean Creek Road, between Bluebonnet Lane and Redwood Way, and another project at the Granite Creek Road overpass. Permanent landslide repairs are needed further up Bean Creek Road and on Green Hills Road.
In addition, we’re working on getting back into a regular striping routine to make streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians. I can’t thank our maintenance crew enough for keeping streets clear during the recent storms. When you see our crews working, please wave and smile to say thank you!
The city is home to seven parks with 44 acres of parkland, five playgrounds and a pool, plus over 200 acres of open space preserves. The same crew that maintains our streets also maintains parks. Our crew stays busy fixing irrigation leaks, and maintaining restrooms, drinking fountains, barbecue areas, trees, grass and various structures. The city hired two landscape companies to maintain Skypark soccer fields, greenbelts and street medians, and to help with projects this year. This freed up our crews to focus on Siltanen and Hocus Pocus Parks.
We’ve identified $5 million in park improvement projects. This year, we plan to replace the Siltanen Park irrigation system and replace both Skypark playgrounds with more accessible and modern equipment.
Our three engineering staff review proposed developments, issue permits for utilities to work in the public right of way, and help design and oversee all capital improvement projects. They issue bids, review plans, oversee construction, manage grants and write reports. Our team works with many consultants to help us through this work.
This year, engineering staff are busy with traffic planning, especially along Mount Hermon Road, focusing on signal timing, pedestrian safety, and new development impacts on traffic flows.
Our recreation program took a big hit during the pandemic and we’re still in the process of rebuilding. We’re taking a fresh look and reimagining how our programs serve our community.
In 2021, a recreation restoration plan was developed by a consultant and adopted by the City Council. The plan included 24 recommendations for a new, leaner structure. Currently, we have three recreation staff in charge of facility rentals, programs, events and activities.
A City Council priority is to restore programming to support our diverse community. A strategic plan is underway to ensure we know what the community wants. We’re involving more teachers and organizations to deliver programs. If you want to teach a class, please contact recreation.
We all benefit from Public Works efforts to protect our health, safety and quality of life. Whether working in the streets, parks, pipes or plant, our dedicated staff are hard at work every day. Please join me in honoring them during Public Works Week.
Jack Dilles is mayor for the City of Scotts Valley. To reach Dilles, email [email protected] or call 831-566-3180.