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Sonoma County Gazette
Lucy Vitali, Tourism Cares volunteer
Lucy Vitali, Petaluma resident, part of the Tourism Cares helping with the beautification of the Petaluma Visitors Center.

Tourism Cares Work Day Beautifies Petaluma Visitors Center and SMART Train Platform

Sep 14, 2018


More than 20 volunteers, 66 volunteer hours, and 20 cubic yards of mulch later, Petaluma’s new SMART train platform is looking better than ever. 

Sonoma County Tourism Cares partnered with the Petaluma Visitors Center and the City of Petaluma to beautify theSMART train platform and surrounding area outside the Visitors Center, a busy, visitor-frequented location. 

The volunteers gathered on Wednesday, Aug. 15, to take part in cleaning up the area: pulling weeds, removing dead plants, replenishing soil, and spreading mulch in the designated planting areas. 

“When a group of 22 volunteers shows up ready to dig in – literally – and move 20 cubic yards of mulch, you know that good things are going to happen,” said Colleen Rustad, communications manager of the Petaluma Visitors Program.

Susan Villa, master gardner and Petaluma resident, Ingrid Larnis, owner of Garden Tender, garden design and installation in Petaluma, and Max Childs, general manager Hampton Inn, Petaluma joined the Tourism Cares crew for the beautification of the Petaluma Visitors Center.

And good things did happen. The day’s efforts worked towards creating a more welcoming and vibrant space to greet Petaluma visitors and locals alike. The historical 1914 yellow train depot that now houses the Visitors Center is located alongside the SMART train platform on one of the most frequented corners in Petaluma. Whether stopping by, passing through, or beginning an extended stay, the beautification project provides a benefit for all. 

Rustad has high hopes for the future, noting the project’s positive impact on more than just the Petaluma location’s appearance. 

“The City of Petaluma staff stepped up in a big way to help us prepare,” Rustad added. “And on the day of the event, by showing that we were willing to share responsibility and do some heavy lifting, we have a stronger partnership with the City and a plan for continued improvements.”

Sonoma County Tourism Cares, the altruistic arm of the tourism community, partners with local non-profits to give tourism professionals opportunities to give back by volunteering. 

Sonoma County Tourism is the destination marketing organization for Sonoma County. Tourism generates $2.1 billion annually for the local economy, $177.7 million in government revenue, and supports more than 22,690 jobs. 

To learn about VOLUNTEER Opportunities with Sonoma County Tourism Cares - visit:


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