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Our County by Efren Carrillo - January 2014

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Our County by Efren Carrillo - January 2014

by Efren Carrillo

Moorland neighbors will have much to celebrate in 2015. More than 20 years has passed since the Moorland community in Southwest Santa Rosa was promised a park. Homes were built, while the park parcel remained undeveloped due to planning decisions made at that time. Last year, my office along with staff from PRMD and Regional Parks began working to acquire the 4.2 acre parcel. Regional Parks and PRMD worked to obtain 2 major grants totaling over $900,000 in State and local Agricultural Preservation and Open Space funds toward the initial planning and environmental costs that will be associated with developing a park. All of this happened with the hope that we could eventually acquire the land. 

On December 17th, Regional Parks was able to purchase the 4.2 acre future park site! 

This past year, the Moorland Neighborhood Advisory Team – residents organized by Community Action Partnership through a Department of Health Services Community Transformation Grant - has held community meetings, focus groups, and set priorities for community improvements that are desired by most residents. Their work resulted in community cleanups, better bus stops,  new street lighting - which will be installed early this year, and also set developing the park and increasing pedestrian safety as top priorities.   

Even though the park acquisition negotiations were ongoing, it wasn’t until December that the dream became a reality. The community project is going to finally happen! Acquisition of the land is a huge first step in fulfilling the 20 year old dream of Moorland neighborhood families.

Soon, park development work will begin…there will be an extensive community planning process involving neighborhood residents guided by Regional Parks and the Moorland Neighborhood Action Team. (The name of the neighborhood group changed from Advisory to Action once the goals had been agreed upon and an action plan developed.) 

While we have jumped a significant hurdle, a great deal of work remains ahead to raise the needed additional funds, get through planning and construction phases, and obtaining the needed environmental approvals.

There will be broad community interest in this project, because the park site is also the home to the Andy Lopez memorial altar, and the place where Andy died last year. I hope that there will be space for remembering Andy, and also for making future happy memories for the many families and children who call this neighborhood home.

Saturday, January 10th from 1-4pm we will gather to break ground and break bread – join us in coming together to celebrate this spectacular milestone as one community.

Contributions to the park development fund are also welcome. Regional Parks Foundation has begun a capital campaign to raise the additional funds needed to make this community dream a reality.

Rain! It’s been an incredibly wet December and West County, Healdsburg, and Rohnert Park were especially hard hit. The annual Emergency services flood planning meeting at Graton Fire had to be cancelled due to the storm.  The Emergency Operations Center opened for a few 24 hour long days and 11 swift water rescues were carried out during the flash floods. We have thus far been spared major damage seen in past years, but certainly have seen plenty of private property impacted by the deluge that hit. Cazadero saw nearly 11 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. Reports came in from all over about flooding from creeks and hillsides overwhelmed by the rapid rainfall…sometimes in areas not previously flooded. It was too much of a good thing over too short a time period.

Green Valley Road’s notorious Atascadero Creek curve washed out and that road is now closed to all but local traffic between Sullivan and Harrison Grade. Repair to this section of road will not be possible until the creek subsides and we get a good stretch of dry weather. Public Works engineering and environmental staff are assessing the repair strategy, and have made this a top priority. Road crews are out filling newly created potholes all over the county, shoring up slides, and clearing roadside ditches. 

But we have much needed rain, steadily filling our parched aquifers and catch basins, and restoring the flow to our salmon bearing streams.  Sonoma County remains in a drought emergency despite this inundation…so we pray for more rain…just delivered more slowly over the long winter ahead.

Happy New Year! Looking forward to a wonderful, and hopefully wet, 2015.