The Santa Rosa City Council agreed to review its recent decision to begin charging non-profit groups for the use of city facilities after two organizations that use the Bennett Valley Senior Center said they can’t afford to pay.
Santa Rosa’s parks and recreation department is still trying to raise money to keep its pools and senior center open this year. 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.
Philanthropist Henry Trione is donating $20,000 to keep Santa Rosa’s pools and senior center open. He hopes voters will approve Measure P, a quarter-cent sales tax. Until then, his gift will help the city’s parks and recreation department bridge its budget gap.
Film director Francis Ford Coppola has staked a $6,000 matching grant to keep the swimming pools open in Santa Rosa. Private fundraising efforts have now garnered $40,000, still short of the $92,000 needed to keep the city’s pools and senior center open this year.
Santa Rosa has raised about $20,000 in private donations to keep the city’s pools and senior center open, less than a quarter of the amount needed to save the popular facilities. City officials are hoping for a big turnout this weekend at a 5K walk/run fundraiser.
Santa Rosa says it can’t afford to run the senior center it has, but that may not stop it from spending $2.4 million to build a new one. The City Council is considering building the shell of a new senior wing at the Finley Community Center even as it begs for donations to keep the aging senior center on Bennett Valley Road open.
An overflow crowd packed the Santa Rosa City Council Chambers Tuesday to implore city leaders not to shut down municipal swimming pools and the senior center. In the end, council members indicated the beloved facilities will be spared, perhaps through community donations or even a public-private partnership of some type.