WatchSonoma Watch

Fundraising efforts continue for Santa Rosa’s pools, senior center


Santa Rosa’s parks and recreation department is still trying to raise money to keep its pools and senior center open this year.

Orhan Sarabi put up a sign in Julliard Park in Santa Rosa for a fundraiser to save the city pools in 2010.

Despite approval in November of a $6 million revenue measure to fund city services, $92,000 in private donations toward the effort, and a proposal to charge for parking at Howarth Park, the city is still trying to raise $50,000 this year to keep its pools and senior programs afloat.

In a repeat of a successful fund-raiser last year, the city has partnered with the Santa Rosa Marathon to host a 5k run/walk to benefit the city’s Aquatic Trust Fund, which supports operations at the Ridgway and Finley pools.

Last year, the event helped call attention to the city budget crisis, and wealthy businessmen including Henry Trione and winery owner Francis Ford Coppola made generous donations to the cause.

This year’s event takes place Aug. 29 in Juilliard Park. Funds from entry fees, pledges, T-shirt sales and the accompanying festival will help benefit the fund. The cost is $30 for those over 16, $15 for those under.

The $50,000 goal was set at budget time as a way to encourage the community to continue supporting the popular programs without raising fees, which reduces usage, according to Kelley Magnuson, outreach coordinator for the city’s parks and recreation department.

It is not clear that the pools or senior center would actually close if the funds are not raised.

Other fund-raisers later in the year will be dedicated to assist programs at the Bennett Valley Senior Center, Magnuson said.

9 Responses to “Fundraising efforts continue for Santa Rosa’s pools, senior center”

  1. Jim says:

    Long Term solution = outlaw public employee unions!
    There is an inherent conflict of interest in unions paying for elected officials who then negotiate their pay. Also eliminate binding arbitration. We are now paying for the sins of the past, but we can start to undo the damage.

  2. Jim says:

    As a parent and long term Santa Rosa resident, I am aghast at the transfer of resources from services to the community to enrich a few managers and public safety workers in the city. What sort of place is it to raise kids when they will have nowhere to swim, will have to pay to go to the park, can expect to pay more taxes than their parents, can expect to have huge debts to go to college, have no expectation of a pension, and have poor formerly middle class parents to support. What a miserable future, unless you are a policeman who can live high on the hog in retirement on the taxpayer dime. They don’t worry about market crashes – the taxpayer has to make up any shortfall. Time to start looking for places to move to where the government did not let go of reality in their handouts to government employees.

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    We can no longer afford these ridiculously underfunded pensions for city staff to oversee our parks, pools and senior centers.

    It’s time to outsource ALL city services to private business, nonprofit and voluteer organizations where possible. With fire services look at Sebastopol…one paid fire fighter (fire chief) and the rest volunteers…why can’t we employ part-time at less than 25% time some of the 20-30% unemployed 20-30 year olds? How about revitalizing public safety with more volunteers and security services to observe and report communicating with fewer highly paid police officers?

    Government services have become woefully inefficient and unsustainable. Government needs to become more a convener enlisting the entire community with affordable solutions.

    I agree with the post that all these fund raisers do is help pay for increasing retirement expenses.

  4. Dan Delgado says:

    Guess I should add $55/head catered wine dinners to the list. Better our council members should be well sated than public services be funded. Perhaps “let them eat cake” should be our new city motto.

  5. Amused says:

    I laughed at the comment by Sawyer that “change is hard. Its frightening.”

    People who utter those words are usually the first to snivel when things don’t go their way. And you can’t get them to accept their very own wisdom that “change is good.”

    The question is, Mr. Sawyer, is what you are doing the best thing for the community or did you just take a bribe ?????????

  6. Randy C. says:

    If the public pool were to be shut down entirely, a private sector business would open up and fill the void. Bet on it.

    A public pool is a luxury and absolutely not the only route to giving people a place to swim.

    Or, looking at it from another perspective, we can’t afford to be paying police and firemen $100,000 a year in Sonoma County in addition to other government operations like a public pool.

  7. Dan Delgado says:

    I’m curious, how many people would show up at a similar fundraiser to raise money for police and fire pensions? None, I’m betting. It’s a great ruse, isn’t it? Float a sales tax measure with the promise of using the funds to support senior and park services only to use the money for public safety pensions instead. For every lost or diminshed public servie, be sure to thank a cop or fireman.

  8. Alex says:

    If you use it, pay for it. It is time for the government to start to run like a business instead of a charity…that is what got us in this mess. Good God, enough already!

  9. bill says:

    Just a gimmick. The pools will not close nor will the senior center.