It’s been an interesting year. On the surface, things look pretty much the same but behind the scenes we’ve made progress towards getting a Use Permit for the downtown Oaks Park so that we can officially host community gatherings. It has taken years to get to this place. Part of that long process has been to getting approval from different stakeholders to the submitted plan.
As the application moves through the system, we cross our fingers that no more roadblocks will be encountered. We hope it will be granted by the end of the year. Thanks go to all those Board members and consultants whose patience and perseverance have gotten us this far.
Also in the works is an exciting opportunity to partner with Sonoma County Transportation and Public Works to move the bus stop closer to Mirabel Road along the property line and create a sidewalk along 116, saving us tens of thousands of dollars. The County promised the town to upgrade all sidewalks and crosswalks in downtown Forestville as part of their commitment to invest quarry mitigation funds locally. Although currently it’s in the planning stage, we expect to see actual work begin in early 2023.
Forestville Downtown Oaks Site Plan
The above site plan captures the overall design concept, including the new bus stop (on left) location and turnout, the fire department’s requested hammerhead turn-around for emergency vehicles, and a modification to the stage which has mitigated the propagation of amplified speech and music.
Although Covid had tamped down our ability to host Town Halls for the last two years we finally had an in-person/Zoom gathering at the Forestville Elementary School gym in May. We had a packed agenda. A recounting of that event is on the website, but overall, it felt good to be in community again getting feedback on important issues.
One of the best outcomes from that Town Hall was three new members joining the FPA Board. Check out their Bios in on the Board Member page. Christa Moné, Tracy Lyons and Kelly Percich are talented, young women who have much to give us through their experience, skill sets and fresh ideas. Already they are pitching to create a Children’s Corner at the Farmers Markets. They pushed us to finally get all our documents on-line, something we’ve talked about for years. They see things from a fresh perspective.
Maintaining the Downtown Oaks Park is our prime responsibility. Working with the neighboring property owners we have been able to clear out a homeless encampment that affected people’s sense of safety along the West County Trail. Services were offered to those unhoused and the Sheriff encouraged them to find other places to sleep. This piece of land has become a true community treasure. It’s where the summertime Farmers Market can thrive, and the Chamber can host an annual 4th of July Pig Roast along with other fun gatherings.
Bicyclists from all over Sonoma County now come into downtown Forestville. New businesses are popping up as well. We are grateful to be part of a small community where people care about one another.
– Lucy Barnett Hardcastle, President of Forestville Planning Association