Town Hall Meetings

April 6, 2014 Town Meeting

Over 60 people attended the Town Meeting on April 6 to review 4 concepts of the Downtown Square & Park suggested by the Town Square Planning Group (TSPG).

Each of the 4 concepts attempted to incorporate the priorities of use and facilities that had been identified at the February Town Meeting.

Scroll to bottom of page to find out more about the TSPG.

Highlights
(Click on each highlight to read longer explanation.)

Use
Parking
Extension of West County Trail
Environmental Considerations
Buildings
Design B, Top vote getter
Click on image to see larger.

(Scroll down to see the other 3 designs.)

See the Proposed Plan in Person
The proposed plan is now posted on a new notice board in the front of the Town Square area, downtown Forestville.

Highlights’ Descriptions

Use
Each of the 4 concepts attempted to incorporate the priorities for facilities and use that had been identified by those participating in the February Town Meeting. For a list of those priorities as well as a summary of that meeting, go to → Report: Feb. 9 Meeting.
Parking
There seemed to be agreement that parking be moved from where it now is (along 116) to a more screened area on There seemed to be general agreement that parking be moved from where it now is (i.e. what will be the front of the Square, facing Hwy 116) to a more screened area on the east side of the property. The feeling seemed to be for an attractive green entry to the Square along Hwy 116 with car parking set back and less visible from inside the park as well as outside. Parking in the proposed concepts was designed to accommodate overflow parking from downtown businesses as well as parking for the new West County trailhead and for events in the Square (such as the Holiday Tree lighting and other events that will be attracted to this new setting).
Extension of West County Trail
All designs showed the West County Trail dividing into two legs—the longer going around the edge of the Park/Square up towards Mirabel and 116 (and eventually to the Youth Park and Steelhead Beach) with the shorter leg going more directly into the parking area/trailhead and downtown Forestville. (The County Parks and Recreation Department is moving ahead to obtain funding for the completion of the West County Trail, including a trailhead.)
Environmental Considerations
All designs limited disturbance to current vegetation and maximized views of the surrounding countryside.
Buildings
The County Open Space District (our partner in the purchase of the land) allows buildings in specific areas for activities related to the recreational and community purposes of the Square and Open Space Park — such as concessions, a restaurant, a bike shop, or even a community art gallery. Profit from leasing such buildings must be used for the maintenance of the Square/Park. All designs included optional space, should the Town decide in the future, for possible buildings.

Differences in the 4 Concepts
Three showed the town square as a square; one had the square at a 45° angle to 116, and one showed parking along 116, as it is currently. Each of the 4 designs had great features with some similarities running through. Gazebo, Gazebo Stage and Covered Stage all mean the same type of structure.
After many questions and concerns about some details raised by the attendees, everyone filled out ballots picking, in order of likeability, their favorites.

Below are the other 3 designs in order of number of votes.

The Most Favored Concept
After much discussion (questions, comments, and suggestions), everyone filled out ballots – picking, in order of likeability, their favorites. Two similar designs were the clear “winners,” Design B followed by Design C.
The concept with the most votes, Design B (pictured above), has a less linear character. An open meeting area is largely circular, about 80 feet in diameter, with a possible central “focus feature,” such as a water feature, intertwined with seating areas.

Benches and bench clusters are suggested for the perimeter of the circular meeting area. A gazebo-stage opens to the meeting area and also east to a natural amphitheater. To its south is a picnic area.

Parking is located for minimum visibility and land use — with ample room given around trees rather than squeezing in more parking spaces. (The number of spaces is equivalent to current capacity.)

A living “Holiday Tree” is envisioned at or near its traditional location.

A 2500 sq. ft. area is retained as an allowed building space for possible future buildings with restrooms (identical to the other designs).

A 500 sq. ft. possible future building is placed at the lowest elevation point at the end of the south parking lot. There is a generous bus stop and drop off area at the north side of the site.

In addition, there are ample opportunities for “soft” trails that meander through the trees and into the open space areas.

The Other Designs

Design C, #2 vote getter
Click on image to see larger.

Design A, #3 vote getter
Click on image to see larger.

Design D, #4 vote getter
Click on image to see larger.

What is The Town Square Planning Group?
The land for the Town Square and Park was acquired through a public-private partnership between the Sonoma County Open Space District, the Forestville Planning Association, and a private investor group — the Town Square Associates. The land is under conservation and recreation easements that dedicate it to public use.
The Town Square Planning Group (TSPG) consists of representatives from each partner, including the volunteer efforts of two local architects, Jeff Blechel and Ken Smith (thank you, and all praise for your wonderful sketches!).

TSPG continues to seek your input and suggestions, and it hopes to hold another Town Meeting in May for you to consider further design options.

Thanks to Ken Smith and Janet Zagoria for contributing to this report.

Return to T

Monthly
Board Meetings

• 1st Tuesday of mo.
• 5:30 – 7:30 PM
• Location:
Food For Thought
6550 Railroad Ave.
Forestville
(Railroad Ave. parallels
Front St. in downtown)
• For more info,
contact:
Board President,
Michael Cuoio
Everyone welcome.