In Support of the Downtown Plaza Expansion with Engine No. 9

In Support of the Downtown Plaza Expansion with Engine No. 9

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Mill Valley Historical Society and Friends of No. 9 started this petition to President Eric Macris and

During the pandemic, Mill Valley's City government has worked diligently with local businesses to experiment with street closures and other measures to make our downtown as vibrant as possible under difficult circumstances. Building on this civic-minded experimentation, recently the City Council has begun to consider the downtown's longer-term, post-pandemic future.

The Council is considering expanding the downtown plaza into what is now part of the intersection of Miller and Sunnyside Avenues. This expansion would provide multiple benefits: more pedestrian space, improved pedestrian safety and a more attractive and people-first downtown--with no loss of parking spaces.

The expansion would also make an ideal home for Engine No. 9, the only surviving piece of the once world-famous Mt. Tamalpais and Muir Woods Railway, which brought passengers from the Mill Valley Depot to the surrounding natural park areas from 1896 to 1929. The railway was not only a significant engineering achievement, but also an important catalyst of Marin County's long and ongoing focus on environmental stewardship. Built in the horse and buggy era, when venturing into nature was often difficult and threatening, the mountain railway introduced thousands of passengers to the importance of protecting redwood forests and other natural wonders. Engine No. 9 is a crown jewel of local history.

After a decades-long effort, local history and railroad fans recently purchased Engine No. 9 at auction and are now restoring it. We have an opportunity to bring this unique piece of Mill Valley's history back to town, just as the City Council considers the potential plaza expansion. Engine No. 9 can serve as a magnet for private donations that could significantly offset the cost of expanding the plaza. While many details remain to be resolved, it is possible that expanding the plaza and making a home for Engine No. 9 could be done without any taxpayer money.

We urge the City to expand the downtown plaza and make a home there for Engine No. 9, creating a beautiful new public space that celebrates Mill Valley's past, present and future.

Please join the Boards of Directors of the Mill Valley Historical Society and the Friends of No. 9 in signing the petition in support of this project.

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At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!