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By Tammy Murga | Source
ANDERSON SPRINGS >> About 80 people gathered in Anderson Springs Saturday morning to mark the start of a recovery project by breaking ground on a new wastewater system and homes for the area.
The celebration was co-hosted by Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry in the community devastated by the Valley Fire. Also present was Congressman Mike Thompson, District Supervisors Moke Simon and Rob Brown, Sheriff Brian Martin and state agency representatives.
McGuire opened the event explaining the importance of the celebration. He said, “Lake County pulled together. Neighbors opened up their homes to neighbors that are now homeless. Our goal … is to rebuild stronger than ever before.”
“I think we could all agree that if hell existed on earth, it was the Valley Fire,” he added.
Two years after the state’s third most destructive blaze, many will have a chance at “a new life.” That will come in the form of a $10.5 million wastewater system that will allow the construction of 119 homes that otherwise could not be rebuilt, McGuire announced. The community’s 350 lots will also be connected to the system.
McGuire added that $7.2 million low-to-no interest CalHome loans will allow dozens of families to rebuild. And another $4.5 million from Housing and Community Development will be invested in infrastructure for fire recovery.
Aguiar-Curry followed by sharing that she has requested an additional $5 million to help in recovery.
“We are going to work on economic development,” she said. “We will bring jobs back to Lake County.”
She took the opportunity to share that her bill to have internet available to rural communities at a reasonable price is currently sitting in the Governor’s Office.
Local officials like Brown, Simon, and Martin followed by sharing their personal experiences during the Valley Fire. Many applauded and broke down when McGuire honored local heroes, including firefighters and Martin, who helped 25,000 residents evacuate. B
rown was also recognized for serving multiple roles during previous disasters and was awarded a “Fire Recovery Champion” plaque.
Others like the Redwood Credit Union and the California Office of Emergency Services were also given plaques for their donations to fire recovery.
Pat Hand, who has lived in Anderson Springs since the 1950’s, was present at the groundbreaking. She said, “This is phenomenal that so many people came together to get the sewer. We plan to rebuild where my father once built our house.” Excited, Hand explained how building a replica of her childhood home is slowly becoming a reality.
Other members of the community joined in the groundbreaking ceremony with officials in celebration of the what’s to come for Anderson Springs.
Special Districts Administrator for Lake County Jan Coppinger said bids for the project are expected to be awarded at a Board of Supervisors meeting on October 17. She said once a contractor is chosen, progress will greatly depend on the weather.