Covered in mud and debris in the January Montecito disaster, a newly refurbished trail is about to open.
It is located on North Jameson Lane between Olive Mill Lane and San Ysidro Road.
The project is on county land but the work is funded through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This FEMA project is coordinated through KRA corporation and the Workforce Resource Center in Santa Barbara.
Colin Ayers is a crew leader and he sees the job as a way to create a beautiful new pathway for the community and also give local workers some job training experience they may not have had an opportunity for without this funding.
“They can use the skills you already have, or gain some. In my position now I am learning how to manage a whole crew,” said Ayers.
When they arrived on the job site, “it was still a mess. And we are coming here to give it that final touch and make it appealing, presentable and useable. “
Dale Olivas is the job site supervisor. He is working with the FEMA representatives and the Bucket Brigade non-profit to coordinate essential projects.
The route that’s being improved will help pedestrians travel without being in traffic lanes.
As workers were laying the new pathway out, several pedestrians were walking in an unsafe area between the dirt and the traffic lanes. They were sharing the roadway with bikes and the space created a dangerous situation.
Those using the walkway are there for fitness, to get to local schools, or have just stepped off a bus and are going to a nearby home for work.
The workers involved have had limited income since the disaster on January 9 and before that the Thomas fire. “Some people here actually had small businesses that had to fold because of the debris flow and Thomas Fire,” said Olivas.
He said the workers can use the skills to advance their careers and earn important certifications including for safety and equipment use.
Much of the work is by hand and very physical. “We really had to go at it with picks, shovels and really break it down and get it nice and level,” said Ayers.
The work should be done by the end of the year.