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Our View: Rocklin historians deserve seat at table

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The state’s decision to abolish redevelopment agencies has created a huge problem for cities like Rocklin. A California Supreme Court ruling on Dec. 29 allows the state to kill redevelopment agencies. Instead of giving property tax funds to cities for redevelopment projects, the state now wants to use that money to close its budget deficit. When Rocklin’s Redevelopment Agency is officially dissolved on Feb. 1, a successor agency will assume legal title to any properties currently owned by the city, noted City Attorney Russell Hildebrand. As the successor agency, Rocklin is obligated to sell any assets and properties as directed by the Oversight Board, he said. Not only could the city be forced to put the Big Gun Quarry up for sale, but ownership of the Rocklin History Museum and the new site for the Rocklin Library could also be in jeopardy. There is one way to ensure the future of these history-rich properties is protected. We strongly recommend the appointment of a local historian to the Oversight Board. We need someone on the board who will fight for the preservation of the city’s historic sites. City Manager Rick Horst believes the city will be able to save the history museum and the library building because they serve the public. Can the same be said for the Big Gun Quarry? Members of Rocklin’s Historical Society have been working for years to preserve the city’s history. Last year, members had to scratch and beg for the right to participate in preparations for closing the Big Gun Quarry site. They donated more than 3,000 volunteer hours to clean up the quarry property. And their efforts resulted in the preservation of more than 200 artifacts from Rocklin’s granite mining history. When the city later voted to tear down the work sheds, the historic community threatened a lawsuit, which forced the city to prepare an environmental impact report before proceeding with the demolition. Last month a historian submitted nomination papers to list the quarry on National Register of Historic Places, but the city opposed it. Is the city turning its back on its history? It appears so. An historian on the Oversight Board will ensure the city works for the best interests of all its residents.