Chamber awarded use of Ignacio Plaza for Martinis on the Plaza

MARTINEZ, Calif. – The Martinez Chamber of Commerce will be able to use Ignacio Plaza Sept. 15 for its annual Martinis on the Plaza, the second largest fundraiser for the community’s business organization, the Parks, Recreation, Marina and Cultural Commission decided Tuesday night.

As it has granted other nonprofit organizations, the Commission also waived the $200 rental fee, but the Chamber will need to pay the customary $250 deposit. It will be allowed to use amplified sound during the gala that celebrates Martinez as the birthplace of the Martini cocktail.

About 350 people are expected to attend, said DeeDee Agasi, the Chamber’s membership and events coordinator. The Chamber will provide security at the site from the time the organization begins its setup through the post-event cleanup, Agasi said.

Another feature of the celebration will be attempts to keep it as “green” as possible, with the goal being a 95 percent diversion of waste items from the local landfill, she said.

The Commission agreed with the proposed improvements to Golden Hills Park, although Chairperson Dylan Radke suggested City Engineer Tim Tucker make sure the basketball half-court is oriented the best way, and Commissioner Richard Patchin suggested adding more picnic tables.

That would be what Tucker called “a minor tweak,” but reminded the panel that Golden Hills Park primarily is used by residents of the surrounding neighborhood, since there is little auxiliary parking.

The court will be one of the additions, Tucker said. Lighting will be changed to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and pathways will be paved. The park will be made compliant with the Americans with Disabilities act. Dead trees will be removed and in some cases replaced; the community building will be replaced.

Vice Chairperson Karen Bell-Patten had advocated for incorporation of art or color during the renovation, perhaps through murals. Tucker said Tuesday if art is added, “we’ll have to make sure it is not vandalized.” Using color in concrete was another suggestion, but Tucker said colored concrete has created problems of its own in the past. He said the park’s playground equipment provide some color.

The panel received a report on past fee waiver requests, and Deputy Director of Administrative Services said not only do the fee waivers not hurt the city’s finances, they allow nonprofits to present events that benefit the public.

Two Commission sub-committees will work on developing proposals for interpretive panels that could be installed at Susana Park, where stands are available for the panels. The arts subcommittee will take the lead, and the parks subcommittee will make its own suggestions, the Commission decided.

The panel also received a report on its June 16 special meeting retreat workshop, during which it reviewed the Commission’s history, discussed whether it should be more involved in the Marina, especially next year’s Marina Master Plan Update, and decided a joint meeting and more involvement with the City Council should be considered.

Among other comments, Patchin recommended the city’s Park Master Plan should be updated, since the most recent version dates to 2012. Commissioner Adrienne Ursino said the city’s cultural events should be inventoried. “We could start now. We don’t have to wait,” she said.

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