In 1983, Cotati with a population of almost 4,000, was governed by a five-member city council and had a professional city manager. Development is guided by city and county general plans, uniform building codes and local zoning ordinances. Cotati has excellent water and sewage systems, its own police, street maintenance and recreation departments and is the center of the Cotati Fire Protection District.
Within Cotati are two large softball fields and a number of picnic areas. Just outside the city limits is Ladybug Park, with a public swimming pool.
Cotati-Rohnert Park School District provides educational programs for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Sonoma State University is 1 1/2 miles from the center of Cotati and Santa Rosa Junior College is eight miles north. Cotati has several privately operated nursery schools as well as a publicly-run program for preschoolers.
Cotati is at the junction of Highway 116 (Gravenstein Highway) and US 101. Passenger service is provided by the Golden Gate Transit and freight transportation is by Northwestern Pacific Railroad. For the freeway driver, Cotati is a 50-minute drive from San Francisco and 10 minutes from Santa Rosa, Sebastopol or Petaluma.
Cotati has a medical drop-in clinic, five physicians, two dentists and two chiropractors as well as several health-related businesses offering stress reduction, massage and physical therapy.
There are six churches in Cotati, including Catholic, Congregational Episcopal, Church of Christ and Assembly of God as well as a Newman Center.
Social, fraternal, service and youth organizations all have active chapters in Cotati; Flower of Dragon offers services to Vietnam era veterans and the Second Beginning Senior Center serves hot meals daily to seniors. The Sitting Room provides a large inventory of books and the Cotati-Rohnert Park Library in nearby Rohnert Park is a well-stocked branch of the Sonoma County Library.
Cotati has two banks, two cinemas and several halls and auditoriums. Local cable television carries 11 channels and one subscription channel and Sonoma State University has its own FM radio station.
Cotati has become known as an entertainment center in Sonoma County, offering a wide range of food, drink and music. Taverns and night spots cater to different lifestyles and there are Japanese, Italian, French, Greek, Mexican and American style restaurants. Live music includes popular, rock, country and jazz and Sonoma State University offers an array of film, art and live entertainment. The Cotati jazz Festival, Ass to Ass Half Marathon Run and Cotati Indian Festival are annual community events.
Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.