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Roseland Review - May 2016 - Duane Dewitt


Roseland Review - May 2016 - Duane Dewitt

by Duane De Witt

Restitution for Roseland?

Camping season has begun in Roseland again with the start of Spring. Now campers are returning to the banks of Roseland Creek and other spots where underbrush can hide a campsite or two. For the last 7 months 20 campers have proudly resided behind the Dollar Tree Store in the Roseland Village Shopping Center in a self-governed makeshift camp on county land. It is in the “No Man’s Land” near the Joe Rodota Trail in the Roseland County Island. While the camp has been tolerated by Sonoma County officials the future of the camp is in doubt. Officials have told residents they have to move by May 1st. While the camp has been in existence there has been less camping in other areas of Roseland. Local residents expect when Camp Michaela closes the rush will be on again for homeless camps.

Sunday April 17 the “Rush in Roseland” was with political canvassers coming into the area seeking voters for their candidates who “promise” they will make Roseland better. This led a local man on Sunset Ave. to say he just “wants to be left alone and doesn’t trust the city”. His neighbor who has lived on Sunset Ave. in the county for over 30 years said, he wants “Restitution for the 30 years of suffering since the city and county declared the Super Fund Site” on McMinn Ave. It was interesting to watch the political players pass through as they tried to figure out which side of the street was in the “city” and which was in the “county”.

Some of the canvassers have only been in the country a few years so it is understandable. Many folks out shucking for votes are saying the efforts “will help their community” so it was a bit much for the long-time locals residents to put up with. The man speaking of “Restitution for Roseland” pointed out most Roseland residents already pay an unfair burden for their water and sewer services compared to other areas. He feels Roseland has been forever marked by the Superfund site and it makes, “Roseland the go to Ghetto now.” He wants financial compensation.

This reporter knows the state set up the McMinn Ave State Superfund site after the city and county JOINTLY advocated for its creation with an idea it would help the Sebastopol Rd. commercial property owners with the clean-up of toxic contamination in numerous places. In 1984 the city and county agreed to a “Joint Powers Authority” (JPA) to help get things moving forward with the redevelopment of the Sebastopol Rd. corridor. Millions upon millions of dollars were raised in an official Roseland Redevelopment Project Area of 264 acres along Sebastopol Rd. from Olive Street to Stony Point Rd. The money has been spent and now Sonoma County taxpayers own 7 acres of the Roseland Village Shopping Center where the newly opened Roseland Branch of the Sonoma County Library is currently housed as well as a branch of the Boys and Girls Club.

GO ROSELAND. WE can end being a ghetto, perhaps when the land there is redeveloped. Time will tell. Right now the city of Santa Rosa is at an impasse in the 2-year-old negotiations over annexation of the last 620 acres of the Roseland County Island into the city of Santa Rosa. The city wants more money from the county and the city is “laughing all the way to the bank” as it is already getting the county taxpayers to fund millions of dollars for parks the city has never provided to help Roseland residents in the past. Now 20 years after the city planned and forced the county island to occur the city is seeking $8 million more for the Roseland Creek Preserve

City staff are claiming it will cost $13 million to “develop” Roseland Creek Community Park. After the way the Bayer Farm was destroyed by the city to be “developed” to a tune of $8 million, or more, of taxpayers’ money many Roseland residents are saying, “Leave us alone.” Tuesday April 19th the Santa Rosa City Council agreed to ask the county for $1,105,000 for half of the price for 2.6 acres of land the city staff wants to buy to “develop” a park. That would be $2,210,000.00 for the site. This is even more expensive than the first 6 acres the county taxpayers bought for the park with a price of $2.5 million six years ago. 11 extra acres were bought with a combination of taxpayers’ money and a donation from Exchange Bank of $1.7 million. So far $4.1 million of Sonoma County taxpayers’ money has been spent on the 17-acre Roseland Creek Nature Preserve and now Santa Rosa wants more money to destroy it by “development”. 

Saturday May 7 at 11 am there is an opportunity to walk through the Roseland Neighbor Wood. Meet at 1027 McMinn Ave. The walk will only take an hour or so but you can stay longer