District Helps to Expand Sebastopol Skategarden Park

December 16, 2015

Posted in: Press Releases

Agricultural Preservation & Open Space District to Help Sebastopol Expand Much-loved Skategarden Park

District will provide nearly $382,000 in grant funding for recreational improvements

SANTA ROSA, CA (December 16, 2015) – Today the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (District) approved the staff’s recommendation to provide the City of Sebastopol (City) with $381,853 in grant funds to expand the beloved and well-used Sebastopol Skategarden Park near the Barlow Center. The money, which will be matched by the City, will be used to make recreational improvements on an adjacent half-acre parcel the City purchased in 2008. These improvements include benches, pathways, picnic areas, and better access from Flynn Street, all without sacrificing the native oak trees on the property.

“The goal of the District’s Matching Grant program is to create vibrant and inviting spaces within cities, or right on the urban edge, where communities can gather, get some exercise, and enjoy the outdoors,” said District General Manager, Bill Keene. “Working with the City of Sebastopol over the past 11 years to create, improve, and expand Skategarden Park has been a real pleasure; and is a great example of the successful partnerships and projects that come about through this program, and the multiple benefits they bring to communities.”

Skate park result of long partnership between District and City
The District offers a competitive Matching Grant program for projects that provide urban open space, habitat restoration and enhancement, community recreation, and/or public access opportunities within and near incorporated areas and other urbanized areas of Sonoma County. Through the program, the District has worked with the City to provide urban open space and recreational opportunities within the city limits by funding two other Matching Grant projects related to the Sebastopol Skategarden, in addition to the current expansion.

The first Matching Grant project was awarded in 2004 for acquisition of the land, and another in 2008 for development of a one-acre skate park and community garden – Skategarden Park – on Laguna Park Way in Sebastopol. The District provided the City with $654,575 in funding for these two projects. In 2008, the City opened this state-of-the-art skate structure and community garden to the public, and it quickly became one of the most intensively used parks in Sebastopol, drawing skaters from throughout West Sonoma County and beyond. Given the popularity of the park and its heavy use, the City would like to expand it into the adjacent half-acre parcel with opportunities for more passive recreation.

“The City of Sebastopol is thrilled to expand its well-used community Skategarden Park with the help of the District. We think the voters who included the Matching Grant Program in its Expenditure Plan would be proud of the wonderful urban space Sebastopol has created with the District’s help – space that will now be enhanced with a meadow, pathways, picnic areas, water fountains, benches, and landscaping,” said Kenyon Webster, Sebastopol’s Planning Director.

Skategarden Park joins other Matching Grant projects in Sebastopol such as Meadowlark Field and Tomodachi Park. The City and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation used District funds for riparian and upland restoration on Meadowlark Field, which sits along the eastern entry to Sebastopol on the north side of Highway 12 and includes a section of the Laguna de Santa Rosa Regional Trail. Across the highway, the District helped to create Tomodachi Park where oak woodland and riparian wetlands, as well as picnic tables, make a scenic gateway to Sebastopol.

Matching Grant Program poised to bring more open space to urban areas – new cycle starts in 2016
The District’s competitive program is offered every other year, and makes grants available to Cities, the County, other public agencies, and non-profit organizations. Since 1994, this unique program has provided over $30 million in funding towards projects in all of the County’s nine incorporated cities and in multiple unincorporated areas, allowing our partners to leverage that funding to develop diverse and innovative projects throughout Sonoma County’s communities. Some of those projects include the Prince Memorial Greenway (Santa Rosa), Windsor Town Green (Windsor), Sonoma Garden Park (Sonoma), Creekside Park (Monte Rio), and Petaluma Marsh expansion and habitat enhancement (Petaluma).

“The District’s Matching Grant Program offers Sonoma County communities a process that results in wonderful projects in or near cities that serve important needs for recreation and access to nature,” offers Efren Carrillo, District Board member and Fifth District County Supervisor. “Sebastopol Skategarden Park is one of these remarkable projects which protects natural areas, beautifies urban space, brings people together with community gardens, offers opportunities for healthy exercise, and will continue to add value with the expanded amenities provided by this grant.”

The next grant cycle will get underway next month with a kick-off meeting on January 28, 2016. Interested parties are invited to attend the meeting from 9:00am – 11:00am at the County’s PRMD Public Hearing Room. For more information on the program and the meeting, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org/matching-grant-program.

“Our Matching Grant program is a great way for cities, public agencies, and non-profits to leverage District dollars to create amazing outdoor spaces for individuals and families in urban areas,” added Keene. “We encourage all interested parties to take advantage of that funding by submitting an application for the 2016 granting cycle.”

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 106,000 acres. Agricultural and open space lands have been protected through a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006. For more information, please visit www.sonomaopenspace.org.

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