Ag + Open Space Board Approves Over $3.6 Million for Urban Open Space

November 15, 2018

Posted in: Press Releases

Ag + Open Space Board Approves Over $3.6 Million for Urban Open Space Projects throughout County

 Funds to go toward park additions, trail connections, new Russian River access

SANTA ROSA, CA (November 15, 2018) – On Tuesday, the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District (Ag + Open Space) recommended funding for five projects within or near urban areas throughout Sonoma County. Through its Matching Grant Program, which solicits applications every two years, Ag + Open Space provides funding for acquisition, restoration, and recreational development projects that offer benefits to our urban communities. This cycle, the board recommended $3,618,943 in funding for five projects throughout the county to provide open space, park additions, trail connections, and new public access points near homes and neighborhoods.

“The projects that come out of the Matching Grant Program are some of the most visible and most transformative for our community,” said James Gore, Ag + Open Space Board Chair and Fourth District County Supervisor. “Think about the Windsor Town Green, Sebastopol Skategarden Park, and Bayer Farm Neighborhood Park and Garden – these treasured spaces and others like them give residents of all ages and walks of life a place to gather, enjoy the outdoors, and get some exercise. It’s a win-win-win.”

“The goal of the District’s Matching Grant Program is to create vibrant and inviting spaces in or near communities where individuals and families can come together, be active, and take in the natural world,” said District General Manager, Bill Keene. “There is no more important time to do that than now, when our community continues to heal from the devastation of the fires. We understand the rebuilding process takes time and we look forward to helping provide community open space and places of respite in the next cycle.”

The 2018 cycle’s projects include three additions to existing parks, new trail connections, and a new public access point to the Russian River. Petaluma residents can look forward to a long-awaited and much-desired extension of Helen Putnam Regional Park that offers a second access point and trailhead off D Street, right outside of downtown. In addition to recreation, this project includes sensitive habitat preservation, maintains a scenic viewshed, and protects an important greenbelt. Petalumans can also look forward to an extension of Steamer Landing Park on McNear Peninsula. With the grant funds, the City of Petaluma plans to acquire most of the remainder of the peninsula and create a place for passive recreation, wildlife-viewing, and education.

In Santa Rosa, the Cooper Creek addition to Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve will add 54 more acres to the beloved park and preserve, and may provide an additional future access point. Funding will go toward acquisition of this property, which provides the scenic backdrop to the adjacent neighborhood and is rich in natural resources, including Cooper Creek.

The AmeriCorps Trail project in Sebastopol will result in new trails and access points to connect with the existing AmeriCorps Trail, which provides access between the Barlow area and the Laguna de Santa Rosa Trail. Finally, the Badger Park River Access project in Healdsburg will result in the City’s first authorized river access point. While there are other river access points in Healdsburg, none are owned and operated by the City itself. In both cases, grant funds will go toward trail and other recreational development.

See below for a list of all the approved projects and funding amounts:

Project Applicant/Co-Applicant Type of Project Size (acres) Approved Funding Request
AmeriCorps Trail Development Project City of Sebastopol Improvement – Public Access / Recreation Development 12.4 $126,943
Badger Park Russian River Access City of Healdsburg Improvement – Public Access / Recreation Development 20 $1,000,000
Cooper Creek Addition – Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve Sonoma County Regional Parks Acquisition 54 $742,000
Helen Putnam Regional Park Extension Earth Island Institute Acquisition 44-58 $1,000,000
McNear Peninsula Acquisition and Access Improvements City of Petaluma / Friends of Petaluma River Combination: Acquisition & Improvement – Public Access / Recreation Development 20.8 $750,000
TOTAL $3,618,943

About Sonoma County Ag + Open Space
Sonoma County Ag + Open Space is a special district that permanently protects the diverse agricultural, natural resource and scenic open space lands of Sonoma County for future generations. Funded by a quarter-cent sales tax approved by voters in 1990 and reauthorized in 2006, the district has protected over 117,000 acres to date, and will continue to steward these and future protected lands forever. For more information, visit