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Our County by Efren Carrillo - March 2015

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Our County by Efren Carrillo - March 2015

by Efren Carrillo

Roseland Village Neighborhood Meeting – March 5th – 6-8pm – Roseland Elementary School 

This important community meeting will discuss the “interim uses” of the former shopping center at West Avenue and Sebastopol Road.  The site has been mostly cleared of buildings and this meeting will determine how the community can use the property over the next several years while public improvements take place.  Chief among the improvements is the long awaited development of a public Plaza at this location.  This project was under way when Redevelopment was dissolved by the State of California, and has been in limbo for several years while financing was sorted out.

Our Board was able to allocate some of the returned redevelopment funds toward the Plaza and other site improvements – including environmental remediation that is nearly completed.  Now we are moving forward with plans to allow community access to the site for recreation and community events.  If you are a Roseland resident, now is the time to participate in the future uses of the site.  I hope to see you there!

Want to own your garden? 

Burbank Housing and Habitat for Humanity are putting together an Affordable Homeownership Workshop on March 10th – from 6 – 8 pm – at the Finley Community Center.  Burbank Housing will announce the next phase of their Catalina Self-Help Townhome project. 60 units will be coming available and applications are being accepted now.  Owning a home with Burbank Housing offers the opportunity to first time homebuyers with low to middle incomes to become homeowners.  There are minimum earning and job requirements, but there are also subsidies and forgivable loans that reduce the total cost for eligible families. 

Sweat equity is required, but also part of the investment that you make in home ownership.  Your work is your down payment.  My parents were able to own their first home through Habitat for Humanity and it made a big difference in our lives and ignited our commitment to community.  I can still recall the many volunteers helping us build our first home.  With the current housing crisis, this new phase is desperately needed and you should find out if it might work for you and your family.  There will be resources including finance and tax specialists available to consult with you at the Workshop.

Water-wise Gardening Conserves Every Drop

Despite the rainstorms in December and February that gave Sonoma County a welcome soaking, we are still not out of the drought and it is important to continue to save water in our homes, businesses and gardens. With the spring gardening season here, residents have the opportunity to conserve water and have beautiful landscapes at the same time.

There are an array of water-saving resources available for Sonoma County gardeners. Free consultations for planting a water-wise garden are available. The annual Eco-Friendly Garden Tour showcases sustainable landscaping practices in Sonoma and North Marin counties. Residents throughout the county can receive cash rebates for turf removal from their local water provider. Here are some of the free resources available:

Create your own water wise garden
If you’re interested in creating your own water-saving garden, the Water-Wise Gardening website is a great place to start.  The easy-to-use website allows you to browse through hundreds of beautiful, water-wise Mediterranean and native plants that are known to thrive in Sonoma and Marin counties. You can create a printable plant list of your plants, get design tips, review sample plans, and learn ways to save water. Visit: http://www.sonomacountygazette.com/cms/pages/default.php 

Garden Sense Sonoma County
Garden Sense Sonoma County is a free program offered by the Sonoma County Master Gardeners, in cooperation with the Sonoma County Water Agency, to help gardeners create low-water landscapes. The program offers a free consultation with a master gardener who will show you how you can easily save water by creating a climate-appropriate garden that is healthy, environmentally sound and beautiful. A Garden Sense consultant will provide information on converting lawns, replacing sprinklers with drip irrigation, selecting appropriate plants for your site, a basic site-specific sketch that addresses your functional needs, an assessment of your existing irrigation system, and general information and tips to help make your garden more sustainable. Visit: http://ucanr.edu/sites/scmg/Garden_Sense_Master/Garden_Sense/ 

Russian River Drought Relief Program: 
Sonoma County Water Agency has created incentive programs for eligible well users in the Russian River watershed. This program is intended to help those who are on a private well save water during this historic drought.  The Turf Replacement Rebate Program is a rebate of $0.50/sq. ft. up to $250 for turf converted to low water use plants. A pre-inspection is required. This program is grant funded and time limited. See if you’re eligible at www.SonomaCountyWater.org/Drought.