Thanks to compromise between numerous stakeholders concerned about the future of Stevens Creek, the historic Stocklmeir orchard, and Blackberry Golf Course, the Cupertino City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night for a bridge and trail location to move the Stevens Creek Corridor Project forward.
The vote was good news on many fronts, including for the public, which in about two and a half years will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted walking and biking trail from McClellan Road to Stevens Creek Boulevard along a stunningly-restored section of Stevens Creek.
The new section of trail will take walkers and bicyclists from the current trail end by the 7th green of the golf course to the 8th green, over a bridge, through the eastern side of the Stocklmeir orange orchard by the creek, and past the homestead to Stevens Creek Boulevard.
At a March 15 meeting City Council members threw out several bridge location and trail alignment alternatives, trying to find a way to keep neighbors, golfers, environmentalists, and historians happy. Keeping the project within budget was another factor, as some alternatives cost more than others.
Residents of The Meadows housing development pointed to a 2005 Council decision to keep the trail at least 100 feet from homes. At least two proposed bridge locations would violate that boundary.
Environmental groups wanted the trail at least 50 feet from the creek to protect the riparian habitat; the compromise trail alignment would for the most part respect that boundary, except possibly along one small section.
The Cupertino Historical Society wanted the orchard protected as a potential future “legacy farm” for educational purposes; the agreed upon plan appears to accomplish that goal.
Golfers may see a slightly narrower fairway for the 8th hole, city staff said Tuesday. However, Public Works Director Timm Borden said the city’s golf course consultants have found a way to reconfigure the course slightly to improve that section. The work would be done during irrigation work already scheduled to coincide with creek restoration efforts next year.
Key to Tuesday’s decision was between city staff and the Stocklmeir Task Force, a community group working to protect the Stocklmeir orange grove and homestead--sandwiched between the golf course and The Meadows housing development--for future generations.
The task force includes representatives from The Meadows, the Cupertino Historical Society, environmental and trail groups, and others. At the March 28 meeting the group weighed all the options and decided the compromise, also known as the “baseline alternative,” was the best choice.
Earlier on Tuesday night Mayor Gilbert Wong officially presented an award from the American Society of Civil Engineers for Phase I of the Stevens Creek Project to Project Manager Gail Seeds. The award was for the Outstanding Park and Recreation Project in California, 2010.
“This is our great honor and a great motivation to make Phase II just as wonderful,” Wong said before the presentation.