About the Colony

How Atascadero might spend $786,106 from PG&E’s Diablo Canyon settlement

A rendering of the proposed pedestrian bridge over Atascadero Streek looks toward Sunken Gardens and the City Administration Building. Atascadero could use money from the Diablo Canyon settlement to help fund the bridge.
A rendering of the proposed pedestrian bridge over Atascadero Streek looks toward Sunken Gardens and the City Administration Building. Atascadero could use money from the Diablo Canyon settlement to help fund the bridge.

I don’t quite understand it.

PG&E is going to pay out $85 million to “soften” the impact of the nuclear power plant near Avila Beach closing its doors?

It just doesn’t make sense that San Luis Obispo County, San Luis Coastal Unified School District and six cities get money they didn’t earn just because the plant is shutting down.

Atascadero alone will get a little more than three-quarters of a million bucks in the deal. That’s a lot of money, folks.

Well, I guess not in today’s economy, where that amount wouldn’t even pay for the new bike pathway out by Atascadero Lake or the proposed foot bridge across Atascadero Creek, which will connect the Sunken Gardens with Colony Square. I know city leaders anticipate the new pedestrian bridge will facilitate getting shoppers from downtown over to the theater complex. In the near future, I think the reality is that the bridge will make it easier for the transient population to get from one side of the creek to the other.

It also worries me when I read that $400,000 will be used to fund a study “to evaluate strategies.” Most all studies contracted by cities and counties, once the money is gone, conclude with a recommendation for further study.

In fact, in my next life, I am going to sell studies and public art to municipalities. Cities seem to love both. And neither has to make any sense.

I’ll be interested in how the city of Atascadero spends its $783,106.

It could put it away for a rainy day.

Maybe the city could make a generous donation to the nonprofit organization attempting to save the historic Printery. A great deal of printing equipment from the Printery has just recently been donated to the Atascadero Historical Society.

Maybe we could create a printing museum in cooperation with, say, Cal Poly. I know there is some interest there.

Although I would be very much against it, the city could use the money to help fund the roundabouts that need to be built for the impending Walmart project.

The funds make a lovely Christmas gift for Atascadero. I’m sure that for the other five cities, the county and school district, PG&E just filled those Christmas stockings to the brim.

Lon Allan’s column is special to The Tribune. He has lived in Atascadero for five decades and his column appears here every week. Reach Allan at 805-466-8529 or leallan@tcsn.net.

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