As 2019 comes to a close, now is a good time for reflecting on this year’s accomplishments. We’ve been busy and I’m proud to share some of our City’s highlights.
The New Year kicked off with Susan Adams joining the city council, our first new councilmember in eight years. Additionally, our new Public Safety Chief, Tim Mattos, has led many changes in 2019. This includes updating numerous policies to improve our police practices, adding greater supervision and oversight of our operations with an expanded command staff and continued hiring of fine new officers. We added a School Resource Officer to keep our schools and children safe. While not yet on the street, we are adding a Quick Response Vehicle that can quickly respond to medical emergencies without requiring us to use a larger fire engine.
This year we launched Leadership Rohnert Park, a program to help over 20 community leaders build their skills and deepen their knowledge of local topics such as housing, transportation and education.
One of the more notable accomplishments was the voters’ renewal of the Urban Growth Boundary – protecting our open space. We also installed much of the water and sewer infrastructure to support our future downtown.
Construction on our largest ever, 218-unit affordable housing complex began. We hope that this will help us house some of the homeless in our community. Also on homeless, we cleaned up and addressed the public health risks at numerous encampments, leased 12 beds at a shelter in Petaluma for those experiencing homelessness in Rohnert Park, and continued to provide assistance to those needing a hand to find permanent housing. We also initiated a forum for concerned residents interested in taking further actions through our Homelessness Roundtable.
Our Public Works Department recently welcomed its new Vactor Hydro-excavator. This heavy vehicle will be utilized by the Utilities Services staff for excavating and repairing water leaks. City staff repair or replace about 100 water leaks each year. The hydro-excavator is an essential piece of specialized equipment, designed to offer a safer and more efficient way to remove soil and excavate around underground utilities that will create fewer traffic challenges.
We continued to invite new businesses to our business-friendly community. The North Bay Biz voted Rohnert Park the Most Business-Friendly City in the North Bay. We’re proud that Parliament Brewing opened its doors and reached max capacity within 60 minutes – what a way to say “welcome.” We also saw the opening of Old Caz, giving Rohnert Park three breweries. Strauss Creamery committed to opening a major production facility here as well, reflecting Sonoma County’s strength in food and beverage production.
In order to keep traffic moving, the city installed its first Traffic Management System. The system detects traffic and adjusts traffic flow at our major intersections. New vehicle detection cameras and equipment were also installed on several intersections throughout the city to allow emergency response vehicles faster responses to calls. Redwood and Golf Course Dr. received face lifts with some restriping and signal modifications. Golf Course Dr. shined bright with the installation of new street lights. Newly reconstructed Coleman Creek and Camino Colegio paths help guide the route through our vibrant community. A new sidewalk was constructed on Southwest Blvd across from Richard Crane Elementary School. Several streets in G-Section and all of J-Section were repaved this year.
For our recreation and sports enthusiasts, we upgraded Sunrise Park with a new year-round soccer and lacrosse field while adding some major including new concrete pathways and improved landscaping.
Adding to our community vibrancy, our Small Grants Program continued for a second year. Our first year recipients were busy painting a Senior Center mural, planting a Peace Garden, and beautifying the Girl Scout Hut (to name a few).
Residents voted Callinan Sports & Fitness as Nextdoor neighborhood favorite. It’s no surprise with great programs and workout equipment.
Toward the end of the year we addressed numerous power shut offs and fire risks, including sending a crew to the Kincade fire to help protect our neighboring communities. This year our Community Service Department launched RP’s Got Talent and hosted an impromptu post-Kincade fire, Trick-or-Treat event.
We continued to be thoughtful about the financial state of the city. The city’s budget is balanced for the sixth consecutive year.
Rohnert Park is a thriving and vibrant community and I’m proud to be here. Our dedicated residents, councilmembers and leaders help steer our city into a place we like to call home. As 2019 comes to a close, I’m grateful for our accomplishments and look forward to more success in 2020.