The city of Ione is located in the heart of California’s Mother Lode region on the west side of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With a population of 7,000, Ione is the largest city in Amador County. This historic community embodies the unique character and lore of the old west as represented by the many historic towns and cities, ranches, farms, mines and cultural sites located throughout the county. The workshop was coordinated by Renee Chapman under the umbrella of the Amador Community Foundation. The keynote speaker was Ed McMahon, senior resident fellow at the Urban Land Institute (ULI), and a nationally renowned authority on sustainable development, land conservation and urban design.
The recent economic downturn and closure of the area’s largest employer has hit Amador County exceptionally hard. Community and business leaders saw the Your Town Workshop as an excellent opportunity to strategize and prepare for the future of their county through all manners of planning and design. The workshop started with somewhat broad problems to be addressed, but the participants quickly defined their scope. The five participating groups included: City-County Cooperation, Designing a Healthy and Strong Community – Trail Park to Howard Park Loop, City of Ione Work Group, Designing with Historic Preservation, and Downtown Main Street.
Coordinator Renee Chapman wrote recently: “I was just thinking of you all today regarding our new Viewshed Protection Committee and their work. This is 100% due to the Your Town Workshop and the connections/relationships that people developed during the 2 1/2 days we convened and looked at our county as a region. So many other regionally focused discussions have taken place since this workshop, it’s absolutely wonderful! And, the bonus is that we’re inviting Ed McMahon back! One of the workshop attendees has even convinced the Board of Supervisors to clear their calendar during one of their weekly meetings to accommodate Ed’s presentation and discussion! We’re VERY excited about this event and all the changes the Your Town workshop has made on our county –it’s GREAT – people are still energized and carrying many things back to their city councils, non-profits and other groups.”
-Excerpted from Your Town: Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design, Update, Winter, 2010