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The Bridgehead entrance to Crockett is property owned by the state.  This acreage was landscaped at great expense by Caltrans to become a local asset of great value.  Caltrans has ceased maintenance of this property as of March 2012 and is looking to the Crockett Community Services District (Crockett CSD) to step in.  As an interim step, an encroachment permit has been issued by Caltrans so that Crockett can intervene in protecting the bridgehead from decline. 

Crockett Bridgehead Advisory Committee
The Crockett Bridgehead Advisory Committee (Committee) has been appointed by Crockett CSD to negotiate with Caltrans and to advise the District Board on matters of bridgehead maintenance.  The Committee does not recommend local ownership of any bridgehead property.  Instead, the Committee expects to have negotiated a long-term lease of bridgehead property north of Pomona Ave. by September.  The vision statement offered by the Committee demonstrates the benefit and the feasibility of long-term maintenance of the bridgehead area by Crockett.

The Future
The bridgehead area will provide a beautiful entrance to Crockett through the efforts of the Committee to keep it clean and its 5,300 drought-tolerant plants healthy and properly maintained.  The chain link fence and barbed wire along Pomona will be removed, and cracks in the asphalt path through the bridgehead will be sealed.  Invasive species and weeds will be removed periodically.  Plants that die will be quickly removed, with possible replacement by other species.  Patches of wildflowers and areas of butterfly habitat plants will be developed over time in cooperation with local organizations.  The capture and reuse of storm water for irrigation will be explored over time, as well as the possible use of reclaimed water from the adjacent wastewater treatment plant.  Solar powered lighting along the public path through the bridgehead area will be installed.

A small museum dedicated to bridgebuilding will be developed along Pomona in the bridgehead area.  This will feature the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge and other bay area bridges along with the ironworkers and others who built them.  The museum will be built by the Alfred Zampa Memorial Bridge non-profit organization, at no cost to Crockett CSD, on land sub-leased to it by Crockett CSD.  Over time, the museum may develop food, drink and souvenir concessions to help fund bridgehead maintenance.

Absent a revenue stream to fund routine maintenance and weed abatement, Crockett CSD will be unable to commit to perpetual maintenance of bridgehead property.  To the extent that the bridgehead becomes more and more attractive, Crockett will be very pleased.  To the extent that this area declines, however, Crockett will be very upset to watch hundreds or thousands of plants and trees wither with no irrigation or care while tall weeds take over.  Complaints will then come quickly and be very loud.  A way must be found for Crockett to intervene and protect this asset.  Initial discussions will focus on the role of local organizations and volunteers with an assist from others required to perform community service.

Crockett has demonstrated a strong volunteer ethic.  Leadership and some amount of work will come from this volunteer base.  The Committee will work to establish partnerships with local organizations, merchants and individuals for the long-term benefit of having an attractive entrance to Crockett.  The Carquinez Regional Environmental Education Center (CREEC) operates a greenhouse for native plants adjacent to the bridgehead area and will have an interest in promoting successful landscaping in the bridgehead area.  CREEC’s horticultural expert, Dr. Dean Kelch, is already involved in advising the Committee.  Crockett Improvement Assn. (CIA) holds semi-annual “town clean-ups” that attract volunteers for plant care and maintenance of public areas, which already included the bridgehead in 2011.  The CIA also has a beautification committee that will take an interest in this property.  They have already agreed to adopt the small Caltrans parcel at Sixth & Pomona.

CREEC encourages youth to learn about plant care and other environmental protections through hands-on efforts.  Furthermore, the veterans services offered through our Memorial Hall could include training in landscape maintenance, in cooperation with CREEC, utilizing the bridgehead and the greenhouse as the classroom.  Regional organizations that might supply temporary workers needing to develop skills are being approached.  The California Native Plant Society will also be approached for whatever cooperation they can provide.

John Swett High School has a detention program in which students are required to report on Saturdays for community service.  Students in this program have already been of help in cleaning our Memorial Hall, and the detention program may be receptive to doing litter pick-up around the bridgehead.

Small grants from the Crockett Community Foundation will provide essential funds for safety equipment and tools, along with a portable toilet required for many volunteer programs.

The Committee will explore all available funding mechanisms, including outreach for donations to fund bridgehead maintenance.  Individual and group donations for maintenance have already been received.  The Committee expects to receive some amount of revenue from Caltrans in exchange for local maintenance beneath and among the aerial bridge structures.  The Committee will also explore possible concession revenue in conjunction with the proposed bridge museum.

Inevitably, the above options alone will prove insufficient over the long term to prevent deterioration of Crockett’s entry landscaping.  The alternate possibility of a very small parcel tax for landscape maintenance will eventually be considered in depth.  If public pressure builds high enough, Crockett CSD will offer a ballot proposition for a parcel tax in the form of what is known as a “lighting & landscaping district”.  Volunteers will have to promote its passage.  Without this stable revenue source, Crockett CSD will be unable to pay for professional or even semi-professional services.  The Committee does not believe that the Crockett Community Foundation will underwrite a continuing maintenance program of this nature but believes that it might pay election costs.