As Cotati has changed over the years, so has the business and commercial scene been altered by the changing needs and wishes of the community and its citizens.
In the early years after incorporation, city planning continued to utilize county zoning maps, which conformed to the land used of the past. In the early 70’s the city hired the consulting firm of Herman Ruth and Associates to develop a new plan for the city and accepted his recommendations for stronger definition of the downtown area as well as additional commercial zoning on East Cotati Avenue.
Soon afterward, Hugh Codding purchased the East Cotati commercial area and in 1973 the Rancho Cotate Shipping Center was opened.
Meanwhile, in a new industrial area along South Santa Rosa Avenue, Don Ling was expanding and modernizing his Redwood Reliance trailer factory and in Sept. ’73 the first Reliance Transfer Trailer came off the new assembly line. Reliance, with more than 100 workers, is Cotati’s largest employer and one of the largest contributors to the city’s sales tax.
Improvements of the central business district was a high priority project of the city council for several years and after a number of attempts, state funding was approved for street and sidewalk improvement, flood control and undergrounding of utilities. The ambitious project, which produced wide sidewalks, outdoor lounge areas and rustic planter boxes, was completed in April 1980.
A growing industrial park north of Redwood Reliance began with the construction of buildings by Warner Nase and now includes buildings constructed by realtors M. P. Rosen and Jimmy Rogers and building contractor Lary Robbins. Streets, utilities and landscaping were financed through an assessment district and several retail and industrial firms are now located in the area. A great deal of this property has been sold to other businesses which are expected to build as the economy improves.
In the past year improvements have also been made in the industrial park along the railroad tracks on East Cotati Avenue and it is expected that development of the Hewlett-Packard facility south of Cotati’s boundary will give impetus to further industrial growth within the city.
Cotati’s city leaders look forward to continued commercial growth to produce a balanced economic base which will in turn assist in the funding of community services.