In January 2021, the Rohnert Park City Council developed priorities for the city to focus on in the next two years. As 2022 comes to a close, the city council revisited those priorities at the October 10 city council meeting.
“I am extremely pleased to see the progress our city has made,” said Rohnert Park Mayor Jackie Elward. “From addressing climate change to improving our infrastructure, we have made progress on many issues important to our community.”
Since January 2022, the city has made significant strides in each of the priority areas identified by the city council:
Throughout 2022, the city adopted a balanced budget and paid off $26 million in future liabilities. It also obtained $27 million in grants to fund a wide range of important programs in Rohnert Park.
In addition to incorporating a Climate Change Element into the 2040 General Plan, the city banned new gas stations and purchased two electric vehicles with plans to get four more.
Police community relations and accountability
Earlier this year, the city restarted the Civilian Public Safety Academy. Additionally, the city’s SAFE Team continues to provide medical and mental health services during public safety calls. Officers have also been connecting with residents through “Chat with the Chief” and “Coffee with a Cop” sessions. Officers visit local schools each month to build trusting relationships with young citizens. Finally, the Public Safety Department is expanding training opportunities for all staff.
Services for unhoused people
In October, the city opened an interim housing facility called Labath Landing, a 60-room site that provides a safe place for people to stay while they prepare for permanent housing. Additionally, between January 2021 and October 2022, the city permanently housed 94 people, engaged 498 people in street outreach and moved 134 people into interim housing or shelter. Rohnert Park also addressed trash and safety concerns at the Roberts Lake encampment. Finally, the city passed new rules to limit encampments to add security and better protection for schools, day cares, creeks, and wells.
Attract housing at all levels
In the past year, about 200 new homes were built and occupied in Rohnert Park. This included Willowglen Apartments, a 36-unit affordable apartment complex managed by Burbank Housing. Through a collaboration with Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County and the Willowglen developer, the city also helped four low-income families buy an affordable home in Rohnert Park.
Infrastructure, maintenance, and beautification
The city opened the first roundabout at Southwest Boulevard to improve the flow of traffic with flashing yellow lights. The city also secured grant funding to renovate Southwest Boulevard and is strategizing ways to maintain city facilities in the long term.
Progress in downtown Rohnert Park
The city purchased 30-acre site in April to transform the heart of downtown into a walkable, mixed-use area. A team of experts is drafting development plans. Initial construction will begin by the Summer of 2024.
Memorable community experiences for all
To bring the community together more often, the city added and expanded community events. Many residents celebrated the city’s 60th Birthday at the Party on the Plaza, attended the first summer kick-off barbeque and enjoyed the first Rohnert Park Jubilee on the 4th of July. The city also expanded the Halloween Carnival to include Dia De Los Muertos altars and a haunted house.
Rohnert Park is proud to have reached so many milestones and is looking forward to continuing this momentum in the years ahead. To celebrate and reflect on this remarkable year, the city invites all community members to the Holiday Lights ceremony on December 3 from 6 to 8 p.m.
As Rohnert Park heads into the new year, the city council is considering identifying a new set of Strategic Priorities in early 2023. Learn more about the Rohnert Park City Council on the city’s webpage.