District Board approves 2014 Urban Matching Grant Projects

District Board approves 2014 Urban Matching Grant Projects

October 14, 2014

Posted in: Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact:
Amy Ricard | SCAPOSD
707/565.7261
amy.ricard@sonoma-county.org

District Board approves 2014 Urban Matching Grant Projects

Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District Board approves 2014 Matching Grant Projects near cities for negotiations

SANTA ROSA, CA (October 14, 2014) – The Board of Supervisors, acting as Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District (District), today accepted District Staff and Advisory Committee Matching Grant funding recommendations for seven habitat restoration and park development projects in and near urban centers in the County. In the District’s Expenditure Plan, Sonoma County’s voters authorized the District to fund urban open space, restoration, and recreation projects through a competitive Matching Grant Program (Program). Examples of projects could include urban greenspace, trails, athletic fields, and riparian restoration along creeks and rivers.

One of the unique projects on the 2014 list will help fund planning and construction of a public gathering place on approximately one acre in the Roseland Village Shopping Center, requested by the Sonoma County Community Development Commission. Potential components might include greenspace and a garden, an area for a farmer’s market and community events, and community art elements. The project will also help connect Sebastopol Road to the Joe Rodota Trail. In the District’s desire to help create urban open space in underserved area, the Program is also recommending partial acquisition funding for two parcels on Moorland Avenue in Southwest Santa Rosa requested by County Regional Parks. It is hoped that these early acquisition funds will jump start the creation of a community park.

“The District’s Matching Grant Program is a wonderful community process that results in tangible projects in or near cities that serve the needs of the population in those communities, creating and protecting natural areas that beautify, bring people together and also offer opportunities for healthy exercise,” offers Efren Carrillo, District Board member and Fifth District County Supervisor. “A potential future park on Moorland Avenue is a great example of how this Program supports community goals.”

The cities of Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Sebastopol and Sonoma (partnering with the non-profit Sonoma Ecology Center) as well as County Regional Parks and SMART have all been recommended to receive funding for restoration, acquisition or recreational development projects. The Matching Grant Program enables applicants to complete a diverse range of projects that offer direct benefits to their neighboring urban communities.

“The City of Sebastopol is very happy to have the expansion of its well-used community Skategarden up for consideration in the 2014 Matching Grant funding cycle. We think the voters who included the MG Program in its Expenditure Plan would be proud of the wonderful urban space Sebastopol has created with the District’s help…space that may now be enhanced with a meadow, pathways, picnic areas, water fountains, benches, and landscaping,” said Kenyon Webster, Sebastopol’s Planning Director.

The following is a full list of the 2014 recommendations:

  • Denman Reach Phase 3  | City of Petaluma | 2.1 acres | $50,000
  • Nathanson Creek Preserve Restoration | Sonoma Ecology Center/City of Sonoma | .78 acres | $166,485
  • Sebastopol Skategarden Expansion | City of Sebastopol | .53 acres | $381,853
  • SMART Pathway  | Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit | 1.16 mile trail | $400,000
  • Roseland Village Public Space | Sonoma County Community Development Commission | 1 acre | $500,000
  • Lower Colgan Creek Restoration | City of Santa Rosa | .28 miles of creek and trail | $617,710
  • Moorland Park | Sonoma County Regional Parks | 4.22 acres | $466,667

The Board’s acceptance of projects into the Matching Grant Program does not in itself guarantee funding, but rather represents a commitment by the District to work with the project applicants to meet all Program requirements for the proposed grant. Project implementation will then occur in accordance with the Program Guidelines. Funding disbursement for Matching Grant projects is contingent upon future approvals by both the District’s Fiscal Oversight Commission and Board of Directors, and other terms including the execution of a Matching Grant Agreement, Conservation Easement, and in some cases, a Recreation Covenant.  These documents ensure that the benefits offered by these projects to local communities and ecosystems will be permanent.

“Working with our community partners in the MG Program creates easily accessible open spaces near where people live, while leveraging  District funding.“ says David Rabbitt, President of the Board of Directors of the Agricultrural Preservation and Open Space District and Chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. “This truly collaborative process helps communities protect and enhance natural areas that local residents and families can enjoy right near their neighborhoods or in their downtowns.”

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About the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District
The Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Since 1990, the District has protected more than 109,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a 1/4-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org