Douglas Taylor may just be the man Hopland didn’t know it was looking for.

Destination Hopland is the non-profit group created to oversee the twice yearly Hopland Passport events, improve the infrastructure for and beautify the town, focus the attention of wine, food, and travel writers on Hopland, and increase tourism to benefit the local economy for both residents and area businesses.

Hopland Passport is heading into its 21st year, and almost runs itself, with help from an experienced volunteer working group. Marketing efforts by a marketing savvy Board Secretary , and work by the Mendocino Winegrape and Wine Commission on behalf of the wineries and growers of Hopland, led to an enormous increase in media coverage for Hopland’s events. Everything seemed easy except making over the town’s significant infrastructure improvement needs.

The cost of laying sidewalks throughout town where they don’t already exist, creating an outdoor garden spot with benches that could host farmer’s markets or art and craft shows, replacing utilitarian wood poles with decorative light poles – the cost of making over Hopland – could easily run up to over one half million dollars; an amount well beyond Destination Hopland’s ability to meet in the foreseeable future.

Enter Douglas Taylor, an educated, artistic, soul who decided on his own to make a difference in the town he lives and loves, Hopland. Taylor talked with other local residents, businesses, Caltrans, the County of Mendocino, and the folks in California Assemblyman Wes Chesbro’s office.

Taylor blanketed Hopland with signs announcing a community meeting for January 22, 2012.

Destination Hopland and Taylor found each other, and sharing the same goal started working together, with Taylor joining Destination Hopland’s Hopland Improvement subcommittee.

At the January 22 meeting, Taylor was joined by a couple of dozen people, residents of Hopland, as well as representatives from Caltrans and Destination Hopland, and a citizen advisory committee was formed and agreed to meet twice monthly with the goal of “finding out what the town wants” and putting that plan into action.

The developing plan calls for, “circulation, parking, and streetscape improvements in the Town showing width and alignment of pedestrian sidewalks, locations of pedestrian crossings, streetscape furnishings and lighting, landscaped treatments including trees/flora, pedestrian and bicyclist improvements.”

Taylor and his growing group are working under the wings of Destination Hopland and the project is now officially called the Hopland Community Action Plan, modeled after the successful action plan used by the city of Point Arena, and will involve grant writing and securing other available public monies.

Taylor said, “we’re in the market for anyone who has ideas on how to make Hopland a better place.” Taylor can be reached by email at HoplandPlan@hotmail.com and heard weekly on local radio KMEC 105.1 FM each Wednesday at 1:00 PM.