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Springs Splash - Thomas Martin - July 2015


Springs Splash - July 2015

by Tom Martin

Housing, Road Construction, Artistic Taste Dominate Life In The Springs!

“Merge!” “Keep to right!” “Bump!” “Slow!” 

The signs along Highway 12 tell the story of construction and community renewal coming to fruition. The Highway 12 corridor project is underway!. 

Women and children soon will have safe sidewalks. It is anticipated that homes, stores and businesses will find renewal and improved business as the project goes forth. Groups like the Springs Community Alliance with assistance from County leaders hope to see the installation of a “plaza” or “commons” in the area by the Churchmouse. This area will be closed to through traffic when sidewalks are installed. SCA leaders are talking with different arborists about planting trees along the “boulevard.”

Housing – Community Meeting at El Verano School 

All is not upward and onward in this lively environment. At a mid-June meeting at El Verano School residents railed against landlords who are raising rents and/or evicting people. 

Landlords seek to maximize income and profits from their properties. Many residents told stories of rent increases from $400-600 per month. Faced with these demands families sense what it’s like to be the object of extortion. Many of the properties in the Springs date from before 1900 when the Springs was a destination spot. Except for notable exceptions, the waters have been capped, but the old homesteads and bungalows remain. With rising property values life for the inhabitants becomes more precarious. The subject of “housing” is the central agenda item at La Luz Bilingual Center on Wednesday, July 8 (11:30 a.m.- 17560 Greger Street, Boyes Springs)

Construction of one hundred units of “affordable housing” by the Mid-Pen company is about to begin. The promise of sixty family units and forty senior units is no guarantee the pressures on current residents will be eased. The draw of profit from resale, vacation rentals, and enhanced rents will continue until either the market drops or the County steps in to curtail the eviction of Sonoma’s working class citizens.

Cultural Wars: Personal Taste and Conflicting Values!

Sonoma County’s façade improvement program has led to criticism of the bright colors used by designer Rico Martin. Martin (no relation) has eight contracts in the Springs for facade improvement. His use of bright color and design is too bold for some. The colors sharply contrast with the brown and grey along the Highway 12 corridor. 

People ask whether Martin’s colors were approved by the County or come within the purview of guidelines for the highway corridor? The answer to this question is that County guidelines apply to structural changes, not paint and color. Repainting may be done at another time. 

The La Michocana Ice Cream Parlor and Plain Jane’s at 18495 Hwy 12 are at the center of discussion at the moment. This project is on hold briefly while Rico Martin is out of state. He is awaiting the arrival of silhouette cutouts to mount before completing the painting. Critics may wish to wait and see to before making final decisions. 

This issue is only beginning to bloom. Upon completion of the current project this column will bring the matter back for review. Readers will be able to judge for themselves about changes in the Springs.

Other façade improvements… 

The “Barking Dog Coffee Roasters” did a wonderful makeover of its façade and interior. The outdoor tables are occupied and the parking lot is full. Have you seen the new concrete donut at “Danish and Donuts?” At press time it was still under construction. Omar Rueda and Aurelia Rueda were doing the handiwork.

The Iniguez Market completed a façade renewal three months ago is reported to begin selling cooked food according to Kathleen Hill (Sonoma IT 6/19/15). The next project for Rico Martin is El Brinquito Market at the northern entrance to the Springs. The date is unknown, but it is reported that the owner of the former “Uncle Patty’s” has asked Architect Adrian Martinez to draft plans for a total renovation of that structure. She also owns the famous “El Molino Central” across the street.