President’s Message, March 2020
Downtown Park Design Plan
In 2013 the Forestville Planning Association (FPA) acquired approximately 4 acres of vacant land in downtown Forestville through community donations and a grant from the Sonoma County Ag + Open Space District. This parcel is protected in perpetuity as open space for the community. The original design plans for the park were not feasible after a required 2018 study resulted in a Declaration of Wetlands on the property. This meant going back to the drawing board to redesign the park and restarting the use permit process through the county, with an anticipated use permit approval in the fall of 2020.
Now, the new design is one which preserves all of the park’s oak trees and extends toward the South, accommodating a planned stage and amphitheater-like space among the oaks. The full concept also includes a larger central gathering space, a defined and surfaced parking lot, and a restroom facility. The Sonoma County Regional Parks’ trail extension and trail head has enhanced our park since last fall. It is scheduled for completion over the wetlands area this summer, after the ground sufficiently dries out for the requisite construction.
Due to the Wetlands Declaration and the effects of the Kincaid fire of 2018, the Ag + Open Space District has granted an extension of the time limit in which most of the design must be implemented. That extension expires at the end of September 2022, giving us just about two years to implement the plan after the use permit is granted. This will be a challenge, but we are continuing to work hard to make it happen.
Implementation of the park design features depends on two factors: solid community support and a successful fund-raising campaign. The FPA had hoped to present the park design status and our fund-raising plans in conjunction with a community town hall meeting in April, however, that meeting has now been cancelled. Nonetheless, we have a great park plan!
Now we need to come together to make it happen. Please join us! We welcome your participation in developing, maintaining and raising the funds necessary to pay for the improvements for this park. If you have interest and/or experience in any of these areas, please contact us.
I hope you will explore and enjoy the access to nature and beautiful gathering space that the Downtown Oaks Park offers our community.
– Michael Cuoio, President of Forestville Planning Association