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Rohnert Park Rumblings - March 2015

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Rohnert Park Rumblings - March 2015

by Gina Belforte

Can a vision change a community? Can a problem create an opportunity that unlocks doors people didn’t even know were closed? Can one thought, one simple idea, significantly impact over 40,000 people? The answer might surprise you.

For example, the Petaluma Health Center is expanding into Rohnert Park and opening up a new health clinic that will feature 15 dental chairs, 2 doctor pods, a laboratory and a mental health provider.

This is a tremendous addition to our community. Our community members will be able to seek medical, dental and mental health services locally. No more going south to Petaluma or north to Santa Rosa in need of basic health and human services. No more medical desert in Rohnert Park. A basic human need is being met in Rohnert Park, one that will have huge implications in a variety of different ways.

Along with health services the clinic brings jobs, approximately 130 new, well paying jobs to Rohnert Park. Our city is lacking in the type of employment that the health center provides. A few years ago the city commissioned an economic study. The study identified that the city had a very low number of white collar jobs in the area, exactly the kind of jobs that the health center will bring.  We will benefit greatly by having doctors, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurses, therapists, and related vendors working in our city.

Having these higher paid workers shopping in our retailer establishments means more money will stay in our community thereby increasing our businesses economic prosperity.

Our new housing developments should see an increase in home sales as people move into the area they want to work. As demand for housing increases so to will our housing values and then property tax. Property tax increase will also influence the amount of money the city receives to go towards the general fund. This will allow the city to continue to provide necessary services in the form of street repairs, increased public works projects, and increased levels of public safety.

The increase in property tax funds also benefits the school district so it can continue to provide quality education with a variety of diverse programs to its students.

Furthermore, having mental health services in Rohnert Park allows those whose hearts and minds are aching to get the help needed just to get through the day. This will diminish someone from hurting themselves or others. It enables citizens, from young adults cutting class and creating problems to adult substances abusers, from going to jail. Our public safety officers will now have a much needed component, mental health providers, supporting them on police calls that have more to do with mental instability than crime.

And lastly, bringing in the clinic lifts Rohnert Park to another level as a community. Without a health clinic we are not at the same level of health and human service care as any other city in Sonoma County. For a city with 40,000 residents this was a shocking fact. Now we are taking a step up, we are lifting up our boat in ways that some people might not be able to imagine.

This has been accomplished through a variety of people within the city and county working on this effort together. The biggest thanks for bringing the health center to Rohnert Park goes to the board of directors and executive team of the Petaluma Health Center.

 Their idea of opening up a new health clinic will greatly aid in changing our city into a community that thrives.

A vision, a single thought can in fact greatly impact a community of 40,000.