Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

A Three Rivers town center concept prepared by Noah Watenmaker. (Click arrows for additional graphic.)The overview of the Three Rivers town center concept prepared and presented by Noah Watenmaker.

Three Rivers designer presents town center concept

John Elliott


The monthly Three Rivers Town Hall convened last Monday at the Three Rivers Memorial Building. The April 2 meeting consisted of several updates and some new business for the community to consider.
A main agenda item was a presentation by Noah Watenmaker, a three-year resident of Three Rivers. He explained that like so many other locals, he is trying to make sense out of the county’s draft Three Rivers Community Plan and said the more than 2,000 pages can be daunting. 
As an experienced planning professional who realizes that the plan is a framework to encourage developers to come forward with projects that could work in Three Rivers, he believes the best projects can and should come from the community.  After all, Watenmaker said, locals know best what Three Rivers needs and wants.
Watenmaker said a town center that he has conceptualized is a connection between concept and implementation. County planning staff hopes to encourage developers to propose projects that would be built according to standards outlined in the community plan.
Watenmaker’s compact design is attractive and well-sited on the 2.7-acre parcel adjacent to Three Rivers Mercantile. It contains some novel amenities that would be unique for Three Rivers like lofts for residences above and shops below, community greenhouses, a community center, and a laundromat, all situated in a “low-lying main street feel.” 
According to Michael Washam, associate RMA director, a project of this scope could be developed as a stand-alone and then linked to other nuclei parcels that could attract more town center development like hotels, stores, and various housing types.
Wantenmaker describes the concept as pedestrian-centric that could also accommodate a park shuttle stop. Of course, the property ownership is key but approval of a site plan would be an important first step. If included in the community plan it might suggest a type of project that is both desirable and visionary to suggest ideas to other investors and developers.