By KATHLEEN MILLISON and DAVID GOUIN
Kathleen Millison is Santa Rosa city manager. David Gouin is director of economic development and housing for Santa Rosa.
Many in our community have expressed support for jobs and economic sustainability, in-fill development rather than sprawl, affordable workforce housing, environmental cleanup of brownfield sites and infrastructure upgrades for our roads, bike paths and parks.
Yet many of these same people are ambivalent about redevelopment and may not fully understand the impact to Santa Rosa’s quality of life with the pending Feb. 1 elimination of Santa Rosa’s Redevelopment Agency.
If you haven’t been following the story, the state Supreme Court on Dec. 29 upheld Assembly Bill 1X26, affirming the state Legislature’s decision to eliminate redevelopment. But the court did not uphold the companion bill to allow redevelopment agencies to continue to exist so long as they made hefty payments of local property taxes to the state. Now our local property tax is being swept away to address the state budget shortfall.
What does this mean to Santa Rosa?
Jobs and economic sustainability: It means a loss of more than 2,800 construction jobs and more than $84 million in investment in Santa Rosa projects, programs and services.
In-fill development: Without a focus on in-fill development, the Prince Memorial Greenway and Hyatt Vineyard Creek would not have been realized. Planned projects adjacent to the future SMART rail stations will not move forward.
Affordable housing: Four developments, totalling 285 homes for the area’s workforce, will not be constructed.
Brownfield cleanup: The Hyatt Vineyard Creek, New Railroad Square and Airfield Park cleanup would not have been possible.
Infrastructure: The Hearn Avenue overcrossing, portions of Stony Point Road widening, the Coddingtown Transit Hub and improvements near the Railroad Square SMART station will not move forward.
Don’t these local redevelopment efforts align with the main goals of creating jobs and supplying affordable housing in our state?
If you agree, then please don’t let these community programs, projects and services end with the total dissolution of redevelopment. Join the city now in contacting our local legislators.
You can contact state Sen. Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, via the state Senate website, www.senate.ca.gov/senators.
Our local Assembly members are Michael Allen, D-Santa Rosa; Wesley Chesbro, D-Arcata; and Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael. They can be contacted through the Assembly website, www.assembly.ca.gov/assemblymembers.
Urge them to support Senate Bill 659 by state Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles. SB 659 would temporarily postpone the Feb. 1 dissolution deadline and allow critical time to have a reasoned discussion to develop a new job creation and economic development program for Santa Rosa and California.