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Sonoma County Gazette
Neighbor Wood

Preserving Open Space in Roseland

Feb 28, 2018
by Duane Dewitt


Bill Keene, Manager of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, told numerous Roseland residents he would seek to have a sub-committee set up as soon as possible to address concerns about Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department plans for theRoseland Creek Nature Preserve. This occurred at a Thursday Feb. 22, 2018 meeting of theCitizens Advisory Committee for the SCAPOSD.

More than a dozen Roseland residents and supporters came to the meeting which had an informational presentation about the lands near Roseland Creek purchased with taxpayers’ funds through the SCAPOSD back in 2010 and 2011. Steve Rabinowitsch and Don MacEnhill of the advisory committee volunteered to be a part of the sub-committee to review what is happening with the Nature Preserve proposal originally advanced over twenty five years ago by members of aSouthwest Citizens Advisory group.

One person from that group is Carolyn Dixon a biologist and member of the early group before SCAPOSD was formed. She is familiar with the Roseland Nature Preserve efforts and is now a member of the Santa Rosa Plain Groundwater Management Agency’s Citizen Advisory Committee. She believes restoration of theRoseland Creek Riparian Corridor and preservation of the Oak Woodlands nearby will help with aquifer recharge and groundwater for Roseland. She is concerned the area which is now a nice natural habitat for local native species of flora and fauna may be ruined forever if Santa Rosa does not preserve the oak woodland “Neighborwood”.

Judith Dehner a resident of Hughes Ave. for many decades pointed out “We need nature’s jewels in Roseland, and not to have it fenced off.”Fred Krueger, also a Hughes Ave. resident next to the 11-acres purchased in 2011 pointed out, “Research shows the therapeutic value of nature.” Former Santa Rosa City Council Woman Marsha Vas Dupre pointed out these efforts with her involvement have been going on since 1996. “Listen to the neighbors. These people care, listen to their hopes.”

Rick Coates, pointed out saving the Oak Woodlands is what resilience is about. He said, “Please protect what little bit of Oak woodland is left in Roseland.”

Gary Balcerak, who volunteers at Bayer Farm tending a native plant garden, was also on the Steering Committee for the Bayer Farm Design. He feels resident input in the design and planning process was not followed by Santa Rosa city staff. He stated the city may do the same type of heavy construction and development in Roseland Neighbor Wood if given SCAPOSD funds to purchase 1370 Burbank Ave. for expansion.

City Recreation department employees have often stated they will tear down the existing structures at the two properties already purchased at 1027 McMinn Ave. and 1400 Burbank Ave. Balcerak is concerned if they purchase 1370 Burbank Ave. also the city will also destroy those buildings there and launch into a destructive pattern of development. The city employees have been rebuffing the efforts of Roseland Pomo Indians who have tried to help on the project for an Interpretive Village to be there near the creek. This was proposed decades ago and now the city is saying the Graton Rancheria of Federated Pomo Indians DO NOT WANT to help the local Pomo residents’ efforts to be allowed.

It appears to this reporter, who also spoke at the SCAPOSD meeting, the city has ignored the efforts of local Pomos such as Jaime Naredo who grew up in Roseland and still volunteers in the area. He turned in written requests to the Santa Rosa City Council and the Recreation and Parks staff two years ago. He confirmed the city has NEVER contacted him about his efforts, though he has now talked with a member of theSanta Rosa Cultural Heritage Board at the Roseland Welcome Day on Jan. 20 in Roseland Village.


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