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April 18, 2019
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Homelessness spikes in RP Straus Family Creamery moving to RP DUI driver crashes into 7-1 Superintendent search begins Cotati memorializes victims More high density in Rohnert Park Brace yourself for mosquitos Mayors of So Co write angry letter RP driver identified Vintage race cars on Sonoma raceway track The “Healing Wall” comes to Sonoma County School district balances budget SSU Equestrian looks to go national Rancho’s TAG building, now a reality Fixing Cotati’s roads Promotions in the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety  RP decides on west side Fresh faces on the CRPUSD board 73rd Miss Sonoma County competition held at Spreckels New Executive Director at SSU Newsom’s vision “cradle to career” RP Downtown project underway Schools, facilities and bonds: Plans but no money Name correction: Bad air quality cancels sports Official election winners as projected by the VOICE  RP swears in new council member 2018 local stories which made history ArtStart brings art to the RP Senior Center Holocaust piano now in Cotati CRPUSD seeking a new superintendent Fun family Christmas events in Cotati Cougars’ season comes to a tearful sad conclusion CalFresh clients get Feb. benefits early Rohnert Park Station Ave. update Cuts suggested for school district Dr. Dominguez and Hawkins named as director and co-director for Hanna Institute University Elementary School to host Maker World at SSU Animal Shelter League of RP receives grant Cotati Council reshuffles seats Help save lives by donating blood New laws on purchasing and concealing handguns Fencing in Sonoma County School district leaders tackle 1.9m deficit School district seeking new superintendent Cotati protests CASA compact The Community Voice endorses candidates DA’s office awarded DUI Prosecution Grant Rohnert Park kid joins TCU El Camino graduates Rohnert Park Council says we don’t need another agency Rancho students excel in Poetry Out Loud  SC public safety heroes of the year Don’t drive with an open container Traffic concerns top RP survey Frightful, fun, free Halloween activities Cougars crush Ukiah Election projected winners November 6, 2018  Sonoma Clean Power offers no-cost energy upgrades Rancho advances to semifinals RP’s n­ew Director of Public Safety A stand-off with barricaded, suicidal woman ends safely in RP RP has a new director of public safety Mackenzie leaves SMART RP officers spent Sat. car chasing A shimmer of hope against the angry heavy sky SSU to host North Bay Women of Color conference Public invited to give input on Downtown RP Site School board candidates voice opinions Woman stabbed on west side of RP LandPaths connects people to protected land Tech High Girl's Soccer Undefeated champions! 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Plan approved for Station Ave. park

By: Katherine Minkiewicz
August 10, 2018

The Rohnert Park Parks and Recreation Commission met Monday evening to give the “OK” for the final park development plan for one of Station Avenue’s planned parks, a triangular shaped park with a kid friendly zone, a redwood preservation area and a small and large dog park for residents. With a desire for high quality park amenities, not all commissioners agreed that a proposed $700,000 budget would be adequate; however, in the end four of the commissioners present agreed to recommend the park’s final plan to city council.

Before Laulima landed the former 28-acre State Farm site, SunCal had planned various small parks in and around pockets of the downtown design centered around the SMART train station. 

When Laulima, a San Francisco based mixed-use developer, purchased the large property, parks and recreation commissioners and city staff voiced that they still wanted to include parks in the company’s plans for Station Avenue (formerly known as Rohnert Station — Laulima’s original given name for the future downtown site) since Rohnert Park is known for having family friendly parks in each neighborhood.

Following a downtown community charrette last fall, where residents had a chance to voice what they would like to see in a downtown, it was clear the community had a desire for parks, green spaces, dog parks and communal gathering spaces incorporated into the more urban style downtown plan.

Laulima followed suit on the desires of commissioners and residents and came up with 1.1 acres of proposed, dedicated park land. One piece of the 1.1 proposed park land is a triangular shaped park along with a smaller rectangular shaped park adjacent to Enterprise Drive.

In response to former commissioner comments on the proposed park, “The children’s play structure and dog park were increased in size, a fence will separate the small dog park and the large dog park and the gathering area park land was moved over to the adjacent park land,” said Zach Tusinger, City Planner II for the City of Rohnert Park.

For the dog park amenities, Laulima developers, Jes Slavik and David Bouquillon and builder planners have a variety of amenities in mind, such as doggie drinking fountains, playing tunnels, hoops and ramps. The children’s area would comprise of fun and interactive playscapes, slides and fall materials. The park would also have a stylish retaining wall in order to contain the area’s redwood trees.

Yet, these amenities also come with a cost and Commissioner Chris Borr said he was concerned the $700,000 budget and in lieu fee of around $881,325 for maintenance of other parks and projects, may not be enough.

“I think we are all very impressed with the concept and the plan, it really does provide an anchored downtown feel to the community… but I am somewhat concerned because of the amenities that are outlined here, $700,000 sounds like a lot of money, but I know that can go very quickly, especially around play structures,” Borr explained. “So what I am looking for is some level of comfort or guarantee that the amenities we are talking about tonight are covered.” 

To address those concerns, Slavik said they would like to come back to the commission with more detailed plans of what “they would be building with that budget number” and would work with staff to determine what sort of amenities would be implemented. 

However, Borr still expressed concerns as in the current market building supply costs can change on a dime.

After some tense back and forth regarding the budget, Mary Grace Pawson, director of developmental services for the city, said city staff reviewed and validated the budget the proposed budget.

“To some extent staff has validated the estimated budget for improvements. We get what’s called a bond estimate with the developer and at the end of the project we true it up against the real cost. So the $700,000 estimate comes from the real costs we saw at Twin Creeks Park, which has a children’s play structure, fall structures, a very nice covered picnic area, a full enclosed restroom and concession area and a picnic area and a developed softball field — high quality amenities and that is the budget range we are working in,” Pawson elaborated. 

Pawson also mentioned that this budget seems fitting since the proposed park is smaller and doesn’t have any restroom facilities planned.

Other concerns with the park included the tinier size of the small dog park, which was brought up by Commissioner Chair, Bonnie Black.

Developers said they would plan to make the small dog portion of the dog park larger.

Black mentioned they are excited for the plans and said of the overall park plans, “Everyone I think is much happier with these plans.”