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Mayor Hydrick enjoys his monthly meetings with Lincoln Hills residents

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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On the Friday before Thanksgiving, Lincoln Mayor Gabriel Hydrick was at Lincoln Hills’ Kilaga Springs Lodge to have coffee with acquaintances.
Except, in the 90-minutes he was there, Hydrick had no coffee.
What he had, though, were lively, informative discussions with 12 Lincoln Hills residents in an informal setting.
Since becoming mayor last year, Hydrick meets one Friday a month at Kilaga Springs Lodge, continuing the tradition he said former Mayor Stan Nader started two years ago.
“I enjoy meeting with the residents,” Hydrick said. “I take the hot seat in the front of the room.”
Just like at Lincoln City Council meetings.
Except that Hydrick wasn’t sitting with four other council members at the McBean Park Pavilion.
Instead, he was sitting with 12 cheerful residents. While most of them don’t attend City Council meetings, all of them are still interested in their city.
And the discussion was friendly, not contentious, as sometimes happens at council meetings when issues arise between council members and the public.
Before residents started to ask questions, Hydrick gave a quick update on the council’s search for a new city manager. The previous city manager, Jim Estep resigned Aug. 8 and former city consultant Bill Zenoni was hired as an interim city manager until that position can be filled.
Of the 50 applicants, “a number of applicants are solid candidates,” Hydrick said.
The five council members are individually going through applications, according to the mayor. In early December, the council will interview five or six candidates who “stand out,” Hydrick said.
“I’m happy with the variety of applicants I see,” Hydrick told the Lincoln Hills residents. “A number of the applicants are from California and some are from across the country. One applicant visited Lincoln with their spouse on a Sunday and commented that they were happy to see the downtown busy and to see a downtown park with families and youth.”
A resident asked what benefits Lincoln receives from Thunder Valley Casino. Hydrick’s reply included “The casino is good partners with the library” to “There are opportunities there. Maybe we haven’t struck the right ones yet.”
Another resident asked whether there has been any feedback on the council’s recent unanimous decision to ban medical-marijuana cultivation. Hydrick’s reply included, “I haven’t received any emails. .. For me, it came down to, I don’t question the need for medical marijuana, but I don’t think we should manufacture drugs in our homes of any sort.”
Other comments from residents were thanking the city for moving 10 “invisible” stop signs “to where they’re visible again” and inquiring if some sort of markings or painting could call attention to nearby stop signs.
Another resident wanted to know if some Lincoln Hills signs would be removed, a topic that took up much discussion at prior City Council meetings.
“For the most part, 50/50 feedback (about the signs) came back from a city study about intersections,” Hydrick said. “We determined to leave signs as they are.”
More traffic questions from residents addressed the NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) downtown lanes being unsafe due to “trucks whizzing by” to when Lincoln Boulevard will be turned over from Caltrans to the city of Lincoln.
Hydrick acknowledged that the boulevard recently “was relinquished.”
The mayor also talked about the city’s increased ability to attract new businesses.
“Yes, we have a lot of movement,” Hydrick said to a resident asking about the city’s outreach to Bay Area companies that might want to relocate here.
“We have Nelson Lane opening where trucks can get into the airport area. The city’s economic development committee is doing a lot of work. We have just brought in Shawn Tillman as economic development manager; he did a lot of great work for Chico and he will be a powerhouse for Lincoln. We have Downtown Lincoln Association promoting Lincoln. There’s a lot of work going on.”
As the meeting concluded, Hydrick told residents that these meetings “are valuable” for him.
“I get a pulse on the community and how everyone is doing,” Hydrick said. “Getting to know a greater variety of citizens is rewarding. It enriches my life. I’m kind of sad to let it go.”
Hydrick’s council seat is one of two seats in the November general election. As of press time, he was in second place but final results were not released by the Placer County Elections Office.
Smiling, Hydrick added, “I hope I’m back at these meetings in four years from now as mayor.”