Public to discuss Gold Ridge’s future
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By Jud Snyder  June 28, 2013 12:00 am

Gold Ridge Elementary School still sits on a six-acre site owned by the City of Rohnert Park on Golf Course Drive east of Snyder Lane. In 2008, the Cotati-Rohnert Park Unified School District closed the school because of declining attendance.

It sat vacant for three years, 2008-2011, and slowly deteriorated, trashed by vandals and turned into a neighborhood blight. 

Then the RP  Community Services Dept., under John McArthur, took it over earlier this year and a modest program of recreation services was started. The buildings were rehabilitated and recreation classes were started, sponsored by the city. They were held in the large multi-use hall on the campus.

The programs turned out to be a success, for apparently there was a need for recreation programs in Rohnert Park’s northeast corner.

Said McArthur in his staff report, “So far, the initial recreation programs have exceeded the objectives of the short term goals…the programs are at full capacity, revenue is higher than projected and costs related to vandalism are greatly reduced.”

He went to the city council to provide direction for long-term use alternatives. The council discussed this at its June 11 meeting and recommended McArthur set up two public meetings with residents of nearby neighborhoods to determine what they’d like to see in place here on a long-range scale. 

The meetings will be held at Gold Ridge School Thursday, July 11, from 6 to 7 p.m., and Tuesday, July 16, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

There are four alternatives: (A) vacate the site and close the facility; (B) operate programs in the multi-use building, the former Julan Pekkain Hall, and close the administration offices and classrooms; (C) continue programs in multi-use building and demolish existing offices and classrooms; (D) continue programs in multi-use room and lease out administration offices and classrooms. 

The city council quickly deleted option A but kept the other three alive. But they wanted  McArthur to reach out to the community to get their feelings on what they’d like to see at the school site. It was a consensus decision and no vote was taken. In his staff report, McArthur recommended option D. 

“This approach would provide quality recreation programs to the community, provide the greatest opportunity for cost recovery and minimize blight,” he said.

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