Aug 20, 2019
by Jennifer Gray Thompson
Coffey Strong, in partnership with AshBritt Environmental and Rebuild NorthBay Foundation, is pleased to announce the completion of the Hopper Walls Project. A dedication will take place on Saturday, August 24th at 10am @ Coffey Lane and Hopper Avenue, at the northeast corner.
Santa Rosa Mayor Tom Schwedhelm noted, “This project is symbolic of our rebuild efforts and what can happen when a community comes together as one to rebuild neighborhoods and lives.”
Coffey Strong, AshBritt Environmental, and Rebuild NorthBay Foundation collaborated for over a year to ensure all of the costs were covered, including demolition of the existing walls, debris removal, and replacement with a design and fire rated material chosen by residents.
"AshBritt is honored to have been part of this significant community driven initiative that demonstrated firsthand the recovery efforts for the Coffey Park community and the entire Sonoma County region" said Brittany Castillo, AshBritt CEO. "Equally important, it demonstrated the resiliency of the entire affected region, and AshBritt's corporate commitment of to be a long-term recovery partner in communities that we serve."
The group is thankful to Ken Calligar, CEO of RSG 3-D for his dedication to this project, contractors Farrow (formerly Site Prep), Mountain G., and Wolff Contracting for their pro bono resources in the demolition and disposal of the wall, and Martin Hirsch of the law firm of Perry, Johnson, Anderson, Miller and Moskowitz for the significant pro bono legal assistance provided. In addition to keeping the area clean of trash, neighbors donated their lots for staging as well as electrical and water. Coffey Strong, AshBritt, and Rebuild NorthBay are deeply grateful for the support of the City of Santa Rosa in navigating the process from beginning to end.
“The Hopper Walls Project represents how something great can be achieved when the private, public, and nonprofit sectors collaborate with neighborhood groups. This project, and others like it, provide tangible examples of hope and progress as well as reminders that we are in this rebuild together until every family is back home.” said Henry Hansel, who serves on the Board of Directors for Rebuild NorthBay Foundation as well as being a major employer in the region.
Jeff Okrepkie, Coffey Strong founder and president stated, "The finalization of the construction of the walls is a momentous occasion for the parcel owners that directly about the wall, as well as those who live in Coffey Park. It's a symbol of the resilience and connection our community has developed since the fires. Coffey Strong is very grateful for our partners on this project: AshBritt Environmental and Rebuild NorthBay Foundation. We count ourselves as fortunate to have these partners and the cooperation of the City of Santa Rosa to accomplish this amazing work. It is important to recognize three people from within the Coffey Strong organization who were indispensable in the construction and completion of the wall: Project Manager Steve Rahmn, Anne Barbour, and Sasha Butler. We are thankful to all that donated time, funds, materials and energy into this project."
After the devastating October 9, 2017 fires, it was discovered that the wall along the north and south side of Hopper Ave. was not public property but was owned by the homeowners that adjoined it. The cost of demolition and rebuilding placed a financial and logistical burden for the 42 homeowners along Hopper Ave. Coffey Strong wanted to help find a solution that would benefit the neighbors and provide a new “Gateway to Coffey Park.” The total cost to remove, dispose and replace the fire-damaged wall was approximately $20,000.00 per homeowner with no guarantee of continuity from lot to lot.
AshBritt contacted Rebuild NorthBay Foundation in late February of 2018 inquiring about projects that would have a meaningful impact on the community. Immediately, Rebuild Executive Director Jennifer Gray Thompson suggested the Coffey Park walls. AshBritt understood the practical and emotional imperative of completing this project and rose to the challenge. The in-kind donation from AshBritt and the support and partnership between Rebuild NorthBay Foundation and the incredible community of Coffey Strong allowed this to happen.
Notably, the original estimate of $300,000 to replace the walls fell far short of the actual cost. In response, AshBritt increased their contribution to $450,000 for the Hopper Ave. In addition, AshBritt and its partners, APM Homes, D&S Awards, Farrow Construction, Mountain G. Engineering, Pacific Recycling Solutions and Econoline Signs, contributed an additional $100,000 to $200,000 in in-kind contributions relating to the demolition, hauling, and disposal of the existing wall.
After interviewing numerous contractors and soliciting quotes, Coffey Strong chose Restructure Group LLC of New York, the manufacturer of the RSG 3-D structural panel system as the material supplier for the project. A number of RSG 3-D certified contractors have participated in the design of the wall and were responsible for the construction over a period of 3 months. The fire-damaged, 6’ precast wall was removed and replaced with a new 8’ high strength, highly durable privacy wall. This wall system was chosen for many reasons. The panel wall system is fireproof, seismic-resistant, easily repairable and sound attenuating. The 2900 linear feet of wall is a stucco finished wall with columns placed 20’ on center.
Rebuild Northbay Foundation was born out of the devastating fire disaster of October 2017 and represents Napa, Sonoma, Lake and Mendocino counties. The foundation is led by business, community, health, education, and environmental leaders brought together to rebuild back better, safer, greener and faster. We are committed to the long term rebuilding of our region as a more sustainable and resilient community through advocacy, coordination, and economic and workforce development.
Jennifer Gray Thompson
Executive Director, Rebuild Northbay Foundation
707.953.6034 Jeff Okrepkie
Founder & Board President, Coffey Strong
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