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Supes approve land purchase for Roseland park

Map of proposed Roseland Creek Community Park, which sits between Burbank and McMinn avenues.

By BRETT WILKISON and ROBERT DIGITALE
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Roseland residents gained two key properties for a future community park Tuesday when Sonoma County supervisors approved an open space purchase for 11 acres in southwest Santa Rosa.

The $3.4 million Roseland park deal, set to close escrow March 1, is a joint effort between the county’s Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, the city of Santa Rosa and Exchange Bank, which owns the two properties and donated $1.7 million to the sale price.

“This is a great day for the Roseland neighborhood,” said Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who grew up in the area and now represents it and much of the west county.

The acquisition secures the biggest portion of the proposed 20-acre Roseland Creek Community Park. The city previously purchased nearly 6 acres using a separate $2.4 million county open space grant. The city has applied for $5 million in state money to purchase the remaining 2.6 acres and develop the park.

That last parcel sits amid the three properties already acquired for the park.

The parcels, which are south of a row of residential properties, that face Hughes Avenue, all have frontage on Burbank Avenue on west. There is partial frontage to the park site on McMinn Avenue to the east.

The land consists of oak woodland and grassland. Plans call for a public trail, plus interpretive signs and a restored stretch of Roseland Creek.

The city held five community meetings last year and residents made clear they want land north of the creek preserved naturally and the property to the south developed for “active recreation” uses, said Marc Richardson, director of the city’s Recreation, Parks & Community Services Department.

The park has been on the drawing board for 20 years and has been seen by county and city officials as a key priority for Roseland, one of Santa Rosa’s most-densely populated and underserved areas in terms of park land.

Park development there could take several years, Richardson said. Neighbors have volunteered to help maintain the property and to help provide some environmental education tours there for school or youth groups.

Richardson acknowledged that maintaining new parks is difficult when so many cities are struggling to balance their budgets.

“That’s why the partnership with the neighbors is so important,” he said, “because otherwise we wouldn’t be able to afford it.”

For Tuesday’s deal, the open space district provided $1.4 million, and the city contributed nearly $300,000 in redevelopment and park funds. The Exchange Bank obtained the 11 acres through foreclosure in 2009.

The proposed park is within a one-mile radius of four elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools of the Roseland School District, and is expected to support a variety of community activities, including environmental education and after-school programs.

Roseland neighborhood advocate Duane De Witt cheered the park purchase, which he has been pushing for 17 years.

“This is a big day for Roseland kids to have nature,” De Witt said.





7 Responses to “Supes approve land purchase for Roseland park”

  1. Grey Whitmore says:

    @Dan …

    It is illegal to divert funds that are collected for one purpose to another.

    The City cannot take fees collected under development statues for parks and then turn around and use them for road repairs, etc.

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  2. Dan Delgado says:

    LBR,
    That’s the problem. It’s ALL a good use of funds. It’s just that we don’t have unlimited resources to fund every worthwhile project that comes along. We need to learn fiscal restraint and make some qualitative decisions as to what we want/need and what we can afford. I’ve got no problem making the redevelopment projects compete. That’s a good idea. But now let’s carry that over to all government projects and services. Only when all of these projects compete on a level field will we appreciate what we can afford and what we can’t.

    So LBR, here’s my question to you. Parks or education? You’ve only got enough money to fund one. Which one do you choose?

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  3. Kim says:

    “Roseland neighborhood advocate Duane De Witt cheered the park purchase, which he has been pushing for 17 years.

    “This is a big day for Roseland kids to have nature,” De Witt said.”

    Yes Mr. De Witt only if the kids are not displaced by gang activity!

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  4. Lets be Reasonable says:

    @Dan, $1.4 million came from the open space district – which we as voters approved on the ballot as a sales tax increase. $300,000 is coming from the City. I don’t know the breakdown, but developers pay into a fee for parks, so only a portion is coming from the RDA. Do you really think that this is not a good use of these funds…!?

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  5. Dan Delgado says:

    Parks are great, of course. But don’t you just have to ask where in these tight economic times we come up with the money to purchase these huge tracts of land. Yes, I know the funds are kept in separate accounts. How convenient. But isn’t that really just another way of protecting pet projects. Governor Brown is arguing that Redevelopment Agencies should be denied separate funding and thereby have to compete with other funding priortities for scarce tax dollars. Shouldn’t the same be true for these land acquisitions as well as all other projects with protected funding sources? Why should we accept any new taxes to fund the general fund when there is plenty of money available for other purposes?

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  6. Joe Modderatz says:

    That is because parks are built for Americans and legal residents. Taxes arent to be used for illegals!

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  7. David Rosas says:

    This is great news. I have been advocating for more parks since I moved into Roseland in 2000. The Southwest Quadrant will have approximately 50 acres of park land compared to the other three Santa Rosa’s Quadrants that average around 200 acres.
    We are still 150 acres short and we have the highest population of residents.

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