By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Cloverdale is poised to take title to a 250-acre hillside property once eyed for homes but now preserved as a park and open space.
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, which purchased the property for $7.5 million, on Tuesday formally approved the transfer to the city.
The “Clover Springs” property, visible from Highway 101, had the potential for a 22-lot subdivision before the district purchased it in 2007 and placed a conservation easement on it.
Located off of Skyview Drive at the western edge of Cloverdale, the property ranges in elevation from 380 feet to more than 700 feet. It features oak woodland, evergreen forest and a southern stretch of Porterfield Creek, a habitat for steelhead.
It currently provides access to the surrounding Del Webb neighborhood and may eventually connect to a trail system along the creek.
“This property is very important to Cloverdale and we are proud to partner with the city to protect this land forever,” Sonoma County Supervisor Mike McGuire said in a statement. “By adding 250 acres of park land, we are creating a stronger community and enhancing the quality of life for generations of Cloverdale residents.”
Cloverdale Mayor Gus Wolter called it “a great milestone for the city” that helps preserve a part of the city’s valued identity — its surrounding hillsides.
“It’s basically open to the public and people to use it now,” he said. “There are some trails there and a paved road goes up about halfway.”
As part of the transfer, the city will receive a draft trails plan funded by the district and a $275,000 endowment for planning, maintenance and further public access improvements. The possibilities include interpretive signage, riparian fencing to protect the creek and native plants, an educational center and parking.
The open space district, which has protected more than 85,000 acres, is financed through a 0.25 percent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006.