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Roseland Review - January 2015

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Roseland Review - January 2015

by Duane De Witt

Roseland was a busy place before this Christmas just past. While it was a bittersweet holiday season for some old time Roseland residents, with the passing of the demolition of the Rose Bowl, there was also an expectation for better days ahead. Many memories of old Christmas parties at the Rose bowl were reflected upon while visions of what may come to the site were shared by some diners at the Lions Club Christmas dinner held Christmas day at the Veterans Memorial Building. A couple of unexpected public works projects are soon to be leading the way for the better future being discussed and described by Santa Rosa city officials touting the recently funded Roseland Area/ Sebastopol Rd Specific Plan to start in 2015.  Perhaps the reason for some excitement about this plan will be well founded, if city actions speak for their words.

The Santa Rosa city webpage for Roseland Annexation has stated, “The goal of the plan is to achieve, through future development, a neighborhood with a mix of housing types with proximate supportive retail uses.” Readers will note the quote doesn’t specify the Roseland Village shopping center, but if the city and county work together in a comprehensive manner it could happen sometime in the near future of five to ten years in the grand scheme of things. (srcity.org/departments/cityadmin/city_manager/roseland/Pages/Roseland_Area_Sebastopol_Road_Specific_Plan.aspx)

The unexpected public works projects the city has agreed to undertake and fund with recent actions are one to replace some sewer line and reconstruct the roadway along Sebastopol Rd. from Dutton Ave. eastward to Olive St.  Second is an agreement to replace some sewer lines and reconstruct roadways in the McMinn Ave. and Delport Ave neighborhoods a mile to the southwest of the Sebastopol Rd. project at Dutton Ave. Historically these types of sewer line upgrades have helped neighborhoods to have better roadways after years of official neglect. An example of this is in south Roseland where the roadways in the Roseland County Island near West Ave. and Hearn Ave. were recently rebuilt by the South Park Sanitation District with funding from the county. Local residents were pleased as the area became more upbeat with the sprucing up of the roadways. 

The city website referenced above goes on to say, “The Roseland area PDA, and the specific plan, are focused around the Southside Bus Transfer Center.” This is the city name for the bus turnaround at Southwest Community Park right near the roads rebuilt by the county and PDA stands for Priority Development Area. If the city and county cooperate on the comprehensive planning for the Roseland Priority Development Area the local residents could be the beneficiaries of a better place to live. One aspect of this approach for collaborative planning would be if the governmental employees and elected officials from both the city and county were to allow authentic community engagement to occur in the planning process for the Specific Plan. 

This reporter has only seen that type of community engagement once before in the last twenty years when the Roseland Creek concept Plan was undertaken with extensive community involvement in 2004. What was authentic was there was not a pre-determined outcome in place for that effort when it began. Local residents worked alongside city staff from the Public Works Department to come up with a guiding vision and plan for the Roseland Creek Greenway to be developed in the future. Now with the city website stating, “An extensive network for pedestrians and bicyclists is also envisioned, with links to downtown, community destinations such as parks and schools, and the nearby rural countryside” there is ample opportunity to link the community members into the planning process in an equal standing with the planners to realize the long heal dreams for the alternative transportation possibilities for the Roseland Creek Greenway.

Authentic community engagement in the process of the Roseland Specific Plan could be the New Year’s wish for many Roseland residents in this coming year. Both the city and the county bureaucracies could realize substantial financial support from state and federal funding sources if the efforts to enhance both pedestrian and bicyclist mobility was led by the residents themselves. Such a planning process is known as community planning and a citizen driven, community based planning process can lead to financial rewards. With this in mind Roseland Review wishes all our readers a Happy and Prosperous New Year filled with good fortune and good fun to all.