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Springs Splash - February 2015


Springs Splash - February 2015

by Tom Martin

Forging A New Springs? It’s Not The First Attempt!

Completion of the Highway project will introduce unforeseen changes in the Springs. Additional challenges will be presented when Mid-Pen housing constructs 100 new living units. Will the planned “commercial” space be another small grocery outlet? Or, will it be an innovation like Will Shonbrun imagines in his “hope” for 2015? (See below) Transformations are in the offing for an area once described as a “charming mixture of eclectic farmhouse(s), Mediterranean and historic architecture.”

Dreams of Change, Past and Present…

The Springs was once a vacation destination complete with hotels, spas, summer cottages, and two rail lines bringing vacationers for the waters. By 1950 the area slipped into decline. There have been two major proposals for rejuvenation.

A 1994 proposal, grand in scope, was co-authored by the County Redevelopment Agency, a VIP Citizens Committee, and the Sonoma Valley Citizens Advisory Commission. The Plan envisioned a complete makeover of the Highway 12 corridor, including site planning, landscaping, architectural design, vehicular circulation, parking, lighting, and street furnishings. 

In 2007 the “Sonoma Valley Redevelopment Area Strategic Plan,” was produced by the County Community Development Commission and a Citizens Advisory Committee.  (  This proposal was likely a victim of budget reductions. 

Today a sign of makeover is the utilization of the County façade loan program. Colorful and active designs are appearing along Highway 12. Many of these are designs by Rico Martin of Sebastopol.  Martin’s bright multicolor designs contrast with existing decor. His work is bound to provoke dialogue about appropriate design in the Springs.

Organizations are involved!

The Springs Community Alliance has organized several committees to influence outcomes before construction begins. SCA invites everyone to attend its next meeting: 7 p.m., Thursday, February 12, at the Sonoma Valley Community Health Center. SCA will hold a Town Hall Meeting Thursday, April 9, at a time and location to be announced. 

El Concilio, a Council for Sonoma Valley Latino Service Providers, meets monthly at La Luz to bring together organizations serving the Latino population. According to a County report, Portait of Sonoma County, ( Latinos comprise 40.1% of the Springs population and anglos 55.2%. At the January meeting Oscar Chavez, Assistant Director of County Health and Human Services, emphasized that education from pre-school through college is the key to improvement of people’s human development. 

Over sixty citizens gathered at the Boys and Girls Club in mid-January to discuss Maxwell Park changes. Supervisor Susan Gorin introduced County officials, and Parks Manager Scott Wilkinson chaired the meeting. Citizens assessed needs and improvements for the Park. Readers may add their views at (English) (Espanol). There will be additional workshops in April and June.

More from January…  “2015 Hope for the Springs”  

Will Shonbrun: Some kind of town square to give us a there there. A bakery, a bike shop, more kids using the teen center, a day labor center. Very important to get Uncle Patty’s cleaned up!  Might have to get CalTrans to do it, but it would have to come from the Alliance to get noticed. No sidewalks on streets off Hwy. 12.  I’d love to see a kind of upscale grocery like Oak Hill Grocery in Napa, but don’t think there’s the business for it. A replica of Gen Hooker’s brothel. That’s about it.

Maite Iturri, Principal, El Verano School: My hope for the Springs area is that we work to find the similarities and celebrate the diversity among us all. We all want the best for our children, families and community. We live in an amazing place, with incredibly beautiful and diverse people. Our similarities unite us to do extraordinary work to better our lives, community and future. Our differences offer exceptional opportunities for learning and hope.

Art Escape: “ARTescape now has an exhibition space, the Penny MacNaughton Gallery. Local artists may submit work individually or work on installations with us. Our hope is to bring the art experiences to more people in Boyes Hot Springs.  Contact us: or to become involved.” (Jean Prominski)

Patrick McMurtry, Local Artist: I would like to see the end of vacation rentals in the Springs. I hope 2015 brings improved relations between citizens, young and old, and the Sheriiffs. Let’s make Boyes Springs a community once again where people come together.