City Manager Dylan Feik

Calistoga City Manager Dylan Feik, left, serves Ceasar salad to diners. Later he could be found helping with clean up, folding up and putting away chairs and tables.

This time of year is a joyous time for me. New resolutions, holiday spirit and pure optimism mixed with lots of “unknowns” fills me with excitement. Since I was raised in Mountain Green, Utah, the New Year means fresh snow (which I lovingly call “pow-pow” after powder snow) and months of grey skies with little sunshine. Now as an adult, I will be spending New Year’s Day on Oat Hill Mine Trail expecting 65 degree weather with sunshine all around. Clear skies and beautiful valley … nothing better.

But professionally, what really gets me excited is Calistoga’s vibrant future. It seems each year I become more optimistic about one man’s original vision to create “the Saratoga of California.” See what I did there … And while Mr. Brannan started the vision, every one of us contributes to that vision in our own way.

Future of our fairgrounds

I’ve stated this before but I cannot think of a single land-use decision which bears greater impact on our future than what’s to come of our Napa County Fairgrounds.

Located right in the heart of Calistoga, our own “central park” should become a top priority. And I’m not talking about decisions to add more RV parking spaces, or more racing events, or even improve the golf course … I’m talking about long-term stewardship of a 70-acre gem that sits right in the heart of Napa Valley’s Greatest Community.

Since October 2016, the City of Calistoga has been contemplating, discussing and researching whether it should have a role in future governance and while discussions with Napa County were temporarily disrupted to address community rebuilding in a post-fire 2017, we’re primed to start again shortly. I encourage Calistogans to talk about the fairgrounds and what its future should look like. We have a chance to do something great and if the City can/should have a role, I am supportive of any task that I’m asked to perform.

I’m especially grateful to the City Council for their vision and desire to consider these important decisions affecting our future. I have 100 percent confidence in their ability to lead us, make the right choice for our community and I’m grateful to be along for the ride!

End to bridge projects?

“Holy Cow!” I don’t know about you but I’m tired of bridge projects. We are eagerly awaiting the completion of the Berry Street Bridge project and expect to see vehicle traffic on the bridge once again in late January or shortly thereafter (of course, weather and construction schedule dependent!).

Once that project is complete, we’ll finalize our plans this summer to relocate the temporary pedestrian bridge to its new, permanent location. The pedestrian bridge will span the Napa River between Pioneer Park and the Sharpsteen Plaza, providing an important point of connectivity between the two properties.

Imagine the day when you can listen to music at Pioneer Park and then walk across the bridge to shop at the Calistoga Farmer’s Market. Sure you can do that now with the footbridge but the new aerial crossing will be a significant enhancement and even allow for crossing during the winter season. The synergy between the two public spaces will be enhanced significantly.

Of course we won’t see an end to the Lincoln Avenue Bridge Project for some time, well into 2019. But by summer we’ll be able to drive on the downstream side of the bridge and “mix things up.” I’ve yet to hear of a pedestrian/vehicle incident at the bridge yet so I’m continuing to urge caution, safety and optimism that we’ll continue to have a safe construction project.

Calistogans should continue seeing construction projects across our community. I can provide a laundry list of projects, both public and private, which will create dust, detours and delirium as we improve our community. Here are examples of some private projects –

-Calistoga Hills and Silver Rose will be under construction into 2019-20

-The Senior Apartments on Lower Washington Street are moving toward completion with anticipated opening in the spring. Calistoga Vista (50 units on Grant Street) should break ground this summer if not sooner.

-The Napa County Office of Education, Vine Trail Coalition, Napa Valley Vintners, Calistoga School District and others are working to relocate the NCOE Preschool to a site adjacent to the new Boys & Girls Club facility.

-New hotel rooms have been approved for Wappo Ave. Guest Accommodations, Motor Lodge, and the Craftsman Inn.

While I could keep going with private projects, the City of Calistoga has a long list too and we’re still working on the 2017 list! Here are some projects you will see in 2018 –

-New restroom facility at Lower Washington

-Continued emphasis on street maintenance and replacement (we’re spending $2.6 million on current projects, another $1 million in 2018 if not more!)

-Replacement of the intake valve/system at Kimball Reservoir

-Replacement of Feige Canyon Water Tank

-Installation of a pedestrian bridge at Pioneer Park/Sharpsteen Plaza

-Design/plans for parking lot near Oat Hill Mine Trailhead

-And many more projects to come!

I love coming into work every day and working hard to “make a difference.” The truth is we are all making a difference each day and it’s my wish that each of us is a cathedral builder. I was reading Peter Drucker’s “Parable of the 3 Stonecutters” who illustrated what I meant.

He wrote: “An old story tells of three stonecutters asked what they were doing. The first looked unhappy. He said, “I’m making a living cutting stones.” The second looked happier and proud. He kept on hammering while he said, “I’m doing the best job of stone-cutting in the entire country.” The third one looked up with a visionary gleam in his eyes and said, “I get to help build a beautiful cathedral.”

Editor’s Note: Dylan Feik is Calistoga’s city manager.