June 19, 2021
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History-1961 Master-Planned for RP

By: Irene Hilsendager
July 31, 2020

The target date for completion of master-planned Rohnert Park, comprised of five square miles on a former seed farm between Santa Rosa and Petaluma alongside U.S.101, is set for 1970. By that time, the present population of 2,000 will have swelled to some 30,000 and it will surely rank as one of the largest fully planned communities to come off the drawing boards whole and intact. As envisioned, Rohnert Park will embody some rather interesting panning concepts of major interest to developers and builders.

“Many cities today are in trouble because they grew by accident without judicious planning, economically or esthetically,” says Paul Golis, attorney and prime force behind the development. “Rohnert Park is going to grow purposefully from beginning to end, enabling us to avoid slum conditions, traffic congestion, inadequate public facilities and limited recreational areas and all the other problems now afflicting so many communities and cities desperately trying to make amends for haphazard growth and planning in the past.”

What are the lessons to be learned from Rohnert Park and what are the factors enabling it to set a new precedent for so-called master-planned community developments?

First of all, the community has a very good economic growth potential. It has been the scene of perhaps the most frenzied concentration of building activity of any community in northern California during the past year and for 1961 it is projecting perhaps the boldest single program of housing starts in that entire area with a doubling of the population slated by the end of the year. Secondly, developers and planners have been bold and foresighted enough to allow free play and scope for the teeming possibilities of community growth and the kind of developmental planning likely to consummate these possibilities to the best interests of the community

A rundown of the factors at work in this burgeoning new community tends to hear this out.

Continued next week...

Irene Hilsendager’s column each week touches on moments in the history of Cotati, Rohnert Park and Penngrove.