The Yucaipa 2021 Make A Difference Day (MADD) is planned for two days this year. The days will be Saturday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 30, due to the size and scope of the proposed project, the event is being proposed to be held over two days. Director of Community Services Megan Wolfe presented the event to the Yucaipa City Council at the Aug. 23 regular meeting and opened by saying, “I think we can all agree that Yucaipa is a really special place and one of the things that makes Yucaipa so special is our residents and how much they give back to this community.” Wolfe continued by saying one of the ways the community gives back is by participating in Make A Difference Day. In 2007, the city began participating in MADD which was a national holiday held on the fourth Saturday of October. A committee was formed with representatives from different service and nonprofit groups in Yucaipa. Together, different projects and ways to improve the city were discussed and implemented. “The city has partnered with different agencies, community groups and churches to complete projects such as planting trees, shrubs, flowers, weed and litter removal, broadcasting native wildflower seeds in open spaces, painting of walls, fences and public facilities, even construction of gazebos and a dog park,” said Wolfe. In 2017, 2018 and 2019, city staff sponsored a tree planting project at Five Winds El Dorado Ranch Park. “Since those projects were so well received by the community and well attended, another tree planting project is being proposed at El Dorado Ranch Park,” added Wolfe. Director of Public Works/City Engineer Fermin Preciado said, “The September 2020 El Dorado Fire burned approximately 300 acres of the El Dorado Five Winds Ranch property.” Preciado continued with, “Since then that public facility has been closed. Since that fire, staff and also community volunteers have completed several cleanup and repair efforts that included cleaning up and repairing some of the multi-use trails and also picking up a lot of the debris that was uncovered by the fire. Staff and the city’s contractors have also completed some post-fire mitigation work in the area to reduce the potential risk of flooding and debris flows in the overall burn scar area.” In an effort to continue the restoration of Five Winds Ranch and to be able to open the facility to the public in the near future, staff is recommending another tree and shrub planting project at Five Winds Ranch for the 2021 MADD event. As part of this effort, the east side of the facility has been cleared and graded to construct the trails, equestrian areas, camping areas, building pads, archery course, outdoor amphitheater and to allow for the planting of trees, shrubs and installation of the required irrigation system. Previous MADD projects included planting of trees along Oak Glen Road on the south side of the property and the west edge of the property. For this year’s project, staff is proposing to plant over 400 trees and shrubs on the property and also broadcast native wildflower mixes in designated areas to help restore the burn areas and promote the reestablishment of the native habitat. The installation of some fencing and infrastructure required for equestrian corrals and other amenities is also envisioned as part of the project. Some donations of material and labor to install some equestrian corrals and other amenities along the east side of the park is being sought. “The total estimated cost for the project is $144,000. The current balance in the El Dorado Ranch project budget is $79,100, so for the balance of the funding, staff is recommending that council amend the fiscal year 2021/2022 Capital Improvement Program (CIP) by transferring $25,900 from the park’s capital replacement fund to the El Dorado Ranch project budget and also transfer $39,000 from the general fund unassigned fund balance to this project,” said Preciado. City Manager Ray Casey said, “Just for the record, we have received some donations already from certain businesses in the community including Dutch Brothers for trees and I also want to point out that there is a lot to do here ultimately to open the entire facility. We believe with Make A Difference Day projects, we can get that easterly element with the equestrian and the group camping area opened up safely.” Casey added there were other improvements even after MADD that would have to be done before opening the park. Casey anticipated portions of the park may be opened in the spring of 2022. Councilmember Justin Beaver asked if the trees being planted were mature trees or seedlings. Preciado answered that the staff was proposing 15 gallon trees. Council approved this item unanimously. City staff and members of the community will meet to prepare for the annual event and to begin coordinating the volunteer effort. It is estimated that 500 volunteers will be required to complete this project. MADD will be held Saturday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 30., 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Five Winds Ranch is located at 37076 Oak Glen Rd. If you are interested in volunteering to help with this project, fill out a volunteer form which can be found at the Community Center or online at yucaipa.org. For additional information. please contact Community Services Coordinator Elise Campbell at email@example.com or call 1-909-797-2489 X561. View this item at yucaipa.org.
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