SSU environmental report on future of key RP area unveiled
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By Jud Snyder  February 18, 2011 02:06 pm

It was a rainy and blustery night Thursday Feb. 17 when Sonoma State University's Environmental Studies & Planning Dept. presented their first report on Rohnert Park's future. But it didn't deter a capacity crowd to attend the workshop in RP's City Council Chambers.

It was a swiftly-paced two hours from seven to nine pm,, complete with a thick document outlining their study, replete with voluminous text, maps, charts, graphs and a PowerPoint visual, all in color before a rapt audience.

Billed as "Central Rohnert Park Study Area - Existing Conditions Report," it focused on an area with the RP Expressway crossing the freeway in the center.

Northern boundary is G Section and then straight across under the freeway; southern boundary is Southwest Blvd. It goes west to the Bellevue-Wilfred Avenue flood channel line and two mobile home parks, Rancho Feliz and Rancho Verde. The eastern boundary is the NWPRR tracks, later to become the SMART commute train route. Bisecting it is the freeway.

Major focus for the SSU senior students who are graduating May 28, was the western segment where it's mostly commercial and industrial. But the eastern side, mostly residential got a lot of attention concerning the proposed RP downtown location near the public library.

What's next for the students?

"They have until May 19 to finish the job and have it ready for the city council's May 24 meeting," said Sylvia Darling, student spokeswoman. "Our major interest is the area west of the freeway. In the residential section to the east we did a lot of survey work on the city's proposed downtown locale near the library and railroad tracks."

The 100-page document they presented to the audience is an outstanding piece of work and will be a major source of information for years to come. It would take hours to absorb all the material in its pages.

SSU students have spent the last six months canvassing the study area with a myriad of questions. They also relied on census data from the year 2000 (2010 census data has yet to be published).

Survey topics included are routine questions on number of families, ethnic distribution, land use, history and geography including earthquake preparedness. Income levels, land use, traffic patterns, opinions on SMART commute trains, major benefits about living in RP and also complaints about shortcomings.

Copies of it are available at SSU's environmental department (phone 664-2306) and it could also be on the city's Web site. Call Judy Hauff at 588-2216 to make sure.

The last time RP had a history of the city published was back in 1977 when John LeClerckq published his booklet.  This document from SSU tops the list now as source material.

 

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