I am taking this opportunity to update you on where we stand with the development of the Forestville Downtown Oaks Park that we acquired in 2013 with the aid of the Sonoma County Ag & Open Space and many generous and civic-minded donors.
For the past two years we have been navigating the labyrinthine County planning process with the goal of securing a sanctioned use permit so that we could officially hold events in the park and begin actualizing the park design that we selected in 2014. That process has been much slower than we anticipated. We nearly had the ‘goal posts’ in sight when seasonal wetlands were discovered in the park this summer. The location of the wetlands essentially means that the plan we had been shepherding through the County is no longer viable.
This situation was initially quite disappointing considering all the time and resources we had invested in the process to date. Nonetheless, the FPA viewed this as an opportunity to:
Take a fresh look at our charge to protect the natural resources of the park;
Re-evaluate the many and disparate inputs we originally got from the Forestville citizenry;
Factor in the current usage patterns of the park and;
Apply a more reasoned forecast of costs and resources associated with development of the park
This methodology allowed us to create an alternative design that stays completely outside the wetlands perimeter, does not necessitate the removal of any of our precious oak trees, provides for an elongated ‘organic’ gathering space that accommodates two distinct event areas, retains the basic location of the existing parking lot, and plans for a permanent restroom that will serve the park, the regional trail head access, and the downtown.
We are very excited by the new design and anticipate approval by County within the coming year. Click here to see a concept drawing of the plan: Forestville Downtown Oaks Proposed Design. this drawing is also posted at the park itself. Please continue to enjoy this beautiful open space right in the heart of downtown Forestville!
– Michael Cuoio, President of Forestville Planning Association