BCBA Launches Bench Program
Updated: Feb 22
The BCBA has been working diligently to enhance the historic appeal of the Boulder Creek downtown core. The BCBA Town Beautification project began with the acorn lights. Those were followed by the lights that trim the buildings each night, then updated trash and recycle cans for pedestrian use to replace the damaged concrete cans. Their latest endeavor - benches!
The first bench, located in front of Scarborogh Home Center, was installed on May 9th, 2022. This first bench was adopted by Mabel Baker in honor of her husband, Jay, who was both a former owner of the hardware store and one of the founding members of the BCBA. Mrs. Baker was delighted to be at the ribbon cutting after the installation.
What you may not know is that installing benches, garbage cans, and the like on the sidewalks in Boulder Creek takes a lot of work! The sidewalks, which are the property of CalTrans, require a permit for anything to be placed on them. There is also a County permit required, as well as a Board of Supervisors vote, and proclamation of support required to apply for a CalTrans permit. So, in 2018 when the BCBA Board of Directors decided to pursue fundraising for this leg of the Town Beautification project, Board member, Tamara O'Kelly, went to work. She gathered all of the necessary paperwork and contacted all of the offices that would be a part of the approval process. She was familiar with this process after the BCBA spent 7 years working on getting the garbage cans installed. Once she spoke with CalTrans, the County Board of Supervisors, the Department of Public Works, and more, she recruited fellow Board member, Karen Edwards, to create a map of the downtown core in order to determine where benches could be placed. Setback requirements, ADA accessibility, and aesthetics were all taken into account. In anticipation of the approval of the permits, in 2019 the BCBA bought the first bench that it would donate to the town and use as a flagship to encourage others to adopt a bench. Meetings were held with representatives from all of the pertinent offices, maps were reviewed and then, just as the BCBA was feeling the joy of imminent approval of all of their efforts, the pandemic struck, followed by the devastating CZU fire. Both of these tragic events understandably overshadowed the permit process for a bench. But, in 2022, as offices were able to refocus on projects that had been put on hold, the long awaited approval came through! Local contractors, Kevin Foster and Jordan Booth, generously donated their time and skills to install the bench and the ribbon cutting was a success.
Before the ribbon cutting was done, the BCBA had orders in place for more benches. Folks could see that not only are the benches beautiful and comfortable, but they are a necessary element of a successful business district. They allow residents, tourists, and shoppers to gather, stop and chat awhile. One can even enjoy a snack between errands, or to simply sit and enjoy a lovely afternoon in our quaint downtown. As of the writing of this article, four more benches have been purchased and assembled. They had been scheduled for installation at the beginning of January, but the storms prevented that from happening. Contractors Kevin and Jordan will be rescheduling the installation very soon. There are also three more benches on order and more that are being discussed. Permits for each of these benches are also in the works.
If you are interested in adopting a bench, please contact the BCBA at www.bcba.net. There are 2 sizes available, four feet and six feet. The six foot bench comes with an armrest in the center. There are plaques available so that the bench can become a tribute. Those adopting the bench can choose the verbiage placed on the plaques.